On fast track to success
ELKHORN -- Megan Skoczylas genuinely was surprised by the recognition, but soccer coaches around the Southern Lakes Conference didn't hesitate to bestow the honor after she repeatedly flashed her immense talent.
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The Elkhorn Area High School athlete was named to the all-league first team last spring, one of only two freshmen.
“Being named all-conference was amazing,” Skoczylas said recently. “As a freshman you don't feel like you'll get something like that.”
However, she earned it with an outstanding campaign that featured 14 goals and eight assists, leading Elkhorn to a 13-5-1 overall mark.
Understandably, coach Eryca Card is one of Skoczylas' biggest fans.
“Megan is a fast, talented athlete with good field vision,” Card said. “She is extremely versatile and could play pretty much any position except for goalie. Last year she played mainly at forward with a couple of games at midfielder, but this season she could see more time at midfield or wherever we need her.”
Skoczylas stands only 5-foot-1 but plays much bigger, having competed since she was 4 or 5 years old, including time on a boys team.
“I'll probably play more midfield this year, but I prefer forward because I like to score,” admitted Skoczylas, who said her older brother, Adam, a University of Wisconsin-Madison freshman, was a big influence on her.
“At forward it's much more about making runs, while at midfielder you have to control when to give and where to go with the ball. I'm more comfortable at forward because that's what I played with my club team, so I know where to make runs.”
Despite only being sophomores, Card is looking at Skoczylas and goalkeeper Abby Bochat as leaders on a squad that returns only two seniors from a group that reached the WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinals.
“We have 17 players on varsity and I try to get them all into the games,” said Card, who has been the head coach for 12 years. “We're pretty young, but I expect us to finish well in the conference.”
Card said her star pupil has the intensity and intangibles to continue progressing.
“She is pretty serious about soccer, but she also knows how to have fun,” said Card, who expects Delavan-Darien, Waterford, Burlington and Badger to be among the teams to watch. “Megan knows she wants to play in college. And she is a good teammate and leader.”
Skoczylas isn't taking anything for granted and wants to keep improving while helping the Elks do the same.
“I think we have a chance to do well,” Skoczylas said. “I don't think a lot of people have high expectations for us, so we have to prove them wrong. For me, I've improved a lot on my ball control and being able to dribble and make moves. This year I want to work on passing to their feet, meaning getting it to where they (teammates) are instead of where I think they're going.”
Regardless, the Elks will go as far as No. 18 can lead them.