It was a successful fall soccer season for a handful of Otters, as several players garnered major honors and led their teams into postseason tournaments. In total, seven Otters were named to an all-conference team and six Otters made postseason tournaments.
Goalkeeper Carlos Rubio (Ohio Valley) had an incredible season after breaking the Otters single-season record for GAA (1.71) over the summer. For the Fighting Scots, Rubio had 17 wins, while only allowing 11 goals. His GAA of 0.46 was good for third best in all of Division II soccer. Rubio also racked up 38 career wins to break the all-time conference mark. Unsurprisingly, Rubio was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year and was a First Team All-GMAC selection. Rubio and his teammates followed that up by winning the conference tournament, the school’s first time ever, and reaching the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division II Tournament. Rubio was named as a Second Team All-American and was awarded Hero Sports D-II Goalkeeper of the Year and Player of the Year for his incredible season.
Fellow goalkeeper Torge Wiedenroth (Reinhardt) also had a successful season in goal. He started all 17 games for the Eagles and posted an impressive 1.35 goals against average. Wiedenroth was able to lead Reinhardt to a regular season title before falling in the quarterfinals to a Montreat squad featuring several former Otters. Wiedenroth was named First Team All-AAC and was also named to the All-Academic team.
After setting the Otters all-time appearance and minutes record, Alexis Castillo (Wayland Baptist) returned to Texas to help lead the Pioneers to a conference title and a trip back to the NAIA Tournament. Castillo started 24 games in defense, tallying four goals and three assists and anchoring a defense that had the third lowest goals against average in all of the NAIA. Castillo was also named the Defensive Player of the Year for the Sooner Athletic Conference. Castillo then helped lead Wayland Baptist to their first-ever national championship, defeating Missouri Valley 1-0 in the championship game. The Pioneers also finished the season ranked #1 in the coaches’ poll for the first time ever. Castillo was promptly named to the NAIA All-American Third Team for his play this season.
Two more Otters were named to their conference first team. Sam Jenkins (Carson-Newman) led a defense that surrendered the third fewest goals in conference play. Jenkins was also involved on the offensive end, adding an assist against Lenoir-Rhyne. On the attacking front, Tresor Mbuyu (Liberty) carried his strong late season form with the Otters into his season with the Flames. Mbuyu appeared in 18 games and scored nine goals and added five assists. Mbuyu was named as an alternate for the Big South All-Conference First Team and helped the Flames reach the conference semifinals before bowing out to top-seeded High Point University.
At Lander, Ian Foulger and Sia Jamehdar helped lead the Bearcats to a conference tournament win and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. In the conference championship game, Foulger and Jamehdar both made their respective penalty kicks in the shootout. Foulger was also named to the Conference All-Tournament team. In the NCAA tournament, Lander beat Lincoln Memorial 1-0 in the first round. In the second round, Lander upset second-seeded Wingate in a shootout where Foulger and Jamehdar again both made their attempts. Lander fought but was eliminated in double overtime to Young Harris in the third round of the tournament.
Dion Stergiotis (Marshall) left the Otters in July after leading the team in appearances, minutes, shots, and assists. It was much of the same for Stergiotis with the Thundering Herd. Stergiotis finished top five on the team in appearances, starts, shots, shots on goal, and leading the team in assists with four. In the conference tournament, Stergiotis scored an absolute rocket of a goal to get Marshall past Kentucky before losing 1-0 to eventual champions Old Dominion in the semifinals. Stergiotis was named to the C-USA’s All-Tournament Team.
At Montreat, Jeovanni Ordaz made 14 starts, tallying five goals and five assists. Off the field, Ordaz was named as a “Champion of Character” for the NAIA for exhibiting integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership.
Some other award winners included Alex Mitrovic (NW Nazarene) being named as an Honorable Mention All-GNAC. Henrique Cardoso (Montreat) was named to the AAC All-Academic Team as well. Gian Scalise (Clemson) and Guillermo Deal (Palm Beach Atlantic) were also able to help their teams reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
We are only a few months from the Otters returning to the field, so be sure to follow us on social media to stay up to date on all announcements and events regarding the team! #FearTheFur