Dylan Mott ’15 slipped the ball past the Exeter keeper’s outstretched arms, and as the shot curled left in a dangerous fashion, the crowd collectively held its breath. Then, in a familiar scene for Andover Boys Soccer, the shot turned into a goal as the ball landed inside the post by mere inches and settled itself in the back of the net.
As Mott ran to the corner flag and sprinted up the sideline, the crowd erupted to celebrate Mott’s equalizing goal against Exeter and 48th Andover career goal, which set a new record for career goals scored for Andover Boys Soccer. The previous record — 47 goals — was set back in 2010 by Garnet Hathaway ’10.
“As soon as it went in, obviously I was happy, but we were still only tied at that point in a big game for us. I just thought, ‘I need to get the team focused off the record and back onto beating Exeter,’” said Mott.
The crowd, however, went wild. Upwards of 20 students rushed the field to congratulate their captain in the middle of the game. Mott, for his part, tried to wave them off and get back to the crucial game.
“I saw everyone running onto the field, but at that point, I wanted to keep the game going because we needed a win and it just wasn’t the right time to start celebrating,” he said.
Nick Swenson ’15 said, “Playing with [Mott] these last few years has been something special. He’s an amazing player, and he’s just fun to watch. His focus on our goals as a team makes him a real leader for us.”
Mott made big waves as a Junior, finding a starting position midway through the season and scoring five goals in Andover’s deep playoff run. He then doubled his goal tally with ten goals in his Lower year. In his Upper year, Mott hit his stride with 17 goals, four of which were against Exeter.
It was a tumultuous final season for Mott. Mott and company entered the season under the belief that the record was only 43 goals, leaving him 12 shy of breaking it.
It was not until Mott scored his 43rd, thus tying the supposed record, that former Head Coach Bill Scott called up Hathaway, who informed Mott that the actual record was 47 goals, leaving him five more goals shy of breaking it with only seven games left to play.
Mott went on a three scoreless game streak before scoring five goals in the last four games to break the record. This season, Mott racked up a total of 16 goals in 18 games, including three multi-goal games and one hat-trick.
The night before Andover-Exeter, the team honored him with a tribute to the record at the Fall Pep Rally. “We knew there was a lot of buzz going on about the record, and [Co-Captain] Josh [Murphy ’15] thought a great way to draw fans [in] was to talk about the record in our skit. They thought up the idea one day after practice, and the next day they told me my role,” said Mott.
Leading up to the game, Mott told his friends that he was content with being tied for the record, and, in fact, he was worried about the effect that it would have on the team. “I think overall though, all the attention on the record took the focus away from the team a little bit, and I wanted the attention on the team not [me as an] individual,” said Mott.
The game against Exeter would be the last of Mott’s Andover career, as Andover tied Exeter and did not qualify for the postseason. He said, “It was our first time playing under the lights for Andover-Exeter, and just the whole atmosphere was really intense. We all knew it was a big game, and with the crowd there cheering us on… we had a lot of new guys and it was their first [Andover-Exeter], so you could sense the nerves of the team.”
Next year, Mott will go back home to New York to play for Columbia University.