ROTTERDAM — There were moments last season when Alex Skoda wanted to run onto the field, to join her Mohonasen girls’ soccer teammates and help in any way she could.
A torn right ACL denied her that chance.
“But [last season] made me realize how much I enjoy the sport,” said Skoda, a senior star who missed all of the 2018 season. “I feel like I found more of a love for it.”
Skoda scored 27 goals as a sophomore before missing last season after she injured her knee that March. Her return to Mohonasen’s active lineup has further bolstered a Mighty Warriors program that returned the bulk of its team from last year’s run to the Section II Class A semifinals.
“When you have a player like her, she fits into any system and just makes you better,” said Mohonasen head coach Clint DeMyer, whose 2-0-0 squad plays a high-powered Colonial Council matchup Wednesday when it hosts defending Section II Class B champion Holy Names.
In Mohonasen’s first two games this season, Skoda has already scored five goals and dished three assists. Her skills and smarts, classmate Liv Raucci said, have made the Mighty Warriors’ attack even more potent than it was a season ago.
“It’s 100% better,” said Raucci, who led Mohonasen last year with 19 goals and 13 assists, and already has seven goals and two assists this year. “We learned how to play without her and adjusted to that, but now putting her back into the mix is great.”
Mohonasen reached the Class A state tournament in 2016, and fell in the Section II title game in 2017 before losing in last year’s area semifinals. Throughout the 2018 campaign, Skoda said it was difficult to watch her teammates from the sidelines without being able to help them on the field.
“But coming back, now I’m just so happy to be back and I feel like I’m back to normal,” said Skoda, who first saw action after her injury in May during a club tournament. “I don’t feel like it’s changed anything with the way I play.”
Adding Skoda back into its lineup makes Mohonasen one of the favorites this year in both the Colonial Council and the Section II Class A scene. Mohonasen opened its season with back-to-back wins by a combined score of 17-1 in which six different players scored goals.
“We’ve moved the ball really well,” DeMyer said.
“But we need to keep pushing,” Raucci said.
Three years ago, Mohonasen earned a share of its first-ever area championship in girls’ soccer when it tied Averill Park 0-0 in the Section II Class A final. Since that point, Mohonasen has come close, but hasn’t been able to break through and claim a second championship.
Changing that is the goal of this year’s Mighty Warriors.
“I think we can do that,” Skoda said. “We feel like we’re a really strong team.”