Former Beaufort High School soccer standout Andrew Settlemire's junior season at Erskine finished with a flurry.
During the final week of the regular season, the forward scored a go-ahead goal to help beat North Greenville. He delivered the equalizer during an overtime win against Limestone on Nov. 2 and assisted the game-winner, which gave Erskine a share of its first regular-season Conference Carolinas title.
Erskine fell short in the conference tournament final, losing 2-1 to Limestone on Sunday. But Settlemire ended the season with his first bicycle kick for a goal, his conference-leading 14th goal of the season, and some nice accolades.
He was named Conference Carolinas Offensive Player of the Year and an all-conference selection. He also made the all-tournament team despite missing the opening game.
Settlemire's goals were the most for an Erskine player since 2000. He moved to 12th on the program's scoring list.
The Beaufort Gazette and The Island Packet caught up with Settlemire on Monday to talk about his year and look ahead to his senior season.
Question: How do you think the season went in terms of the team's expectations and how you finished?
Answer: We started 1-3. Finishing the way we did, to tie a conference regular season championship and make it all the way to the finals, I really don't know if it exceeded our expectations, but we definitely changed our whole season around from beginning to end.
Q: How about for you personally?
A: Coming into my junior season, I knew it was going to be a big season for me. I set the standards high. I was hoping for a 15-goal season but ended up one short. I picked up scoring against the high-ranked teams toward the end of the season, where my freshman year I kind of disappeared and kind of didn't score. I picked up my standards for myself and came out as a new player in big games. That's more of like a mental thing for me. If I missed a shot, normally I would stay in my head the whole time. This year if I missed one, I just forgot about it and went on to the next one.
Q: Can you walk me through the final goal, the bicycle kick?
A: It's always just been a goal of mine to get a bike during a game. I tried it Friday during the semifinal and missed terribly. It was just a ball that crossed and the center back that was marking me went for the header and missed. It just came to me and was behind me, so I just thought "Why not?" I attempted the bike and the next thing you know, it's in the back of the net and I'm celebrating with the team. It was maybe 12 yards.
Q: After a big year, what sort of goals will you set or your senior year?
A: I'd like to have more assists. I only ended up with four assists. I would like to have more assists to more players. Our center mid was closest with nine goals. I would like to have more opportunities to spread the wealth of goals and, as always, to score more goals on the shots that I take.
Q: What do you have coming up?
A: Next right now is letting my body rest. They thought I had a stress fracture, so I missed he first round of the playoffs. The radiologist saw it was just really bad shin splints. Except for the two games (in the conference tournament), I've been walking around in a boot, so I'm just trying to let my body recover then get ready for spring season. We have multiple games in one day. We play local schools. Last year we played Wofford, Furman, Spartanburg Methodist and Presbyterian College. A lot of spring is fitness. January and February we only really run. I'm possibly playing a semipro league in Columbia in the summer. My major is sports management. I also have a business minor. I want to do something with sports. I'm not quite sure what it is yet. I'm going to be in Beaufort in January doing an externship with Jeremy Huff, the assistant athletic director at Beaufort High. And I'm going to try to talk to coach (Terry) Rawlins and see if I can work with some of the soccer players while I'm there.
Q: A few years in, how would you assess your decision to go to Erskine?
A: I think this was just a great decision for me. It's incredible. The team, there's no real individual player. It's not like "I want this to be about me." Since I've gotten here, it's been "We're going to do this as a team." Everyone just constantly says "We're one team, we're in this until the end together." It's nice to know there's always someone behind you at all times.