Erskine men’s soccer coach Warren Turner has been named Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year after leading the Fleet to a third-place finish in the conference this season after being picked ninth at the beginning of the year.
The Fleet lost three straight conference games at the end of September and beginning of October, but won six of their last seven matches to place third.
“I guess it starts with expectations,” Turner said. “When you’re picked ninth and finish third, I presume that’s what the other coaches noticed the most. I didn’t quite see it (being named Coach of the Year) coming at 2-6-1 and on a four-game losing streak, but since then, the players have fought to the end and have most definitely made the most of their season.”
The Fleet will face Mount Olive Friday in Murfreesboro, North Carolina, in the Conference Carolinas semifinal. The Fleet came back from a two-goal deficit in the teams’ regular season matchup to win 4-2.
Erskine won many of its games in come-from-behind fashion to finish 7-3 in Conference Carolinas play. The Fleet finished 8-7-1 overall in the regular season.
“I find frustration that so many of our results are come-from-behind wins,” Turner said. “We concede the first goal over and over. We play so well for such a large portion of the game, but certain mistakes are there in the leading to those moments. I’d like to see us have more complete performances. But the way they play, you can’t criticize.
“They just play so hard and they fight for every inch and every moment. It’s frustrating sometimes, but their commitment has been great.”
Four Fleet players earned All-Conference honors, which the conference announced Monday.
Dario Pavon was named first-team All-Conference. Pavon had six goals and four assists in 16 games.
Vicente Martinez Belloso was named to the second team as a defender. He anchored a Fleet back line that allowed only 17 goals in conference games.
Vincent Stulec was named to the third team. Stulec, a freshman, scored six goals and had one assist.
Goalkeeper Alex Pico was selected to the third team. Pico made 64 saves across 17 games.
Turner is in his 12th year as Erskine’s coach. The Fleet went 4-9-2 last season and have not had a winning record since the 2013 season.
Turner said he’s seen much better buy-in and attitude from his players this year.
“I think that the overall level of buy-in from the players this year has been better than in some recent years back,” Turner said.
“I don’t really mean that as a criticism of the teams from the recent past. The best players from recent years are still on the team. They have much further resolve. They have much firmer commitment to the process and how we’re trying to play.”