Beacon Falls’ Starziski leads Nonnewaug to BL title

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By Kyle Brennan, Citizen’s News

Nonnewaug’s Skyla Starziski (4) and Northwestern’s Melissa Tatsapaugh (10) battle for the ball during a game Sept. 20 in Winsted. -STEVEN VALENTI/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

WOODBURY — She scored more goals in the last two weeks of October than many players tally in their entire careers. Skyla Starziski isn’t done yet, either.

Starziski, a Beacon Falls resident who is a senior co-captain at Nonnewaug High, is on one of the state’s most prolific scoring tears this fall. Her knack for firing the ball into the back of the nets led the Chiefs to the Berkshire League championship, and it might lead to a whole lot more.

To get an idea of just how torrid Starziski’s goal-scoring production has been, take Nonnewaug’s four matches in the second half of October — four goals in a 7-0 win over Wamogo on Oct. 18, four more in a 10-1 victory over Gilbert on Oct. 19, another four in a 10-1 win over Shepaug on Oct. 22, and a measly two in a 4-0 win over Litchfield on Oct. 28 that clinched the BL title.

Those 14 goals in an 11-day stretch don’t even reflect what Starziski did through the first month and a half, when she had plenty of other multi-goal games for the unbeaten Chiefs. But her scoring prowess doesn’t sit atop her own list of strengths.

“I’m good with communication, and I think I make my teammates excited to play,” Starziski said. “I think I’m a pretty good leader. I have a love for the game.”

Starziski developed that leadership despite leaving local familiarity a few years ago when she decided to apply to Nonnewaug’s agriscience program. At the time, Starziski was an eighth-grader at City Hill Middle School in Naugatuck.

“My hometown school wasn’t the best option for me,” she recalled. “Coming to Nonnewaug would give me a better chance for success, and my mom really encouraged me to look into it. She thought this would help me most in the future.”

She’s participated in the ag program throughout her four years at Nonnewaug, although she said that she doesn’t plan to pursue any of those paths in the future. Instead, she wants to see how far soccer will take her as she sets her eyes on a career in sports medicine.

“I want to play soccer in college. I’m going to try to play at the highest level I can,” said Starziski, who has been in touch with college coaches along the East Coast.

Before any of that happens, though, Starziski and the Chiefs have plenty of business to handle.

Nonnewaug finished the regular season 15-1 and will start the Class M state tournament as the top overall seed. The school that Starziski might be attending if she hadn’t taken the agriscience route, Woodland, sits at No. 2 in the Class M standings.

Starziski said her team’s success comes as a result of the strong bonds shared by her teammates.

“It’s not a team; it’s like a family,” Starziski said. “We get along so well, and the fact that we all want to be here, and we all want to win, is why we’re doing so well. We’re all good players, we all want to play together, and we all have the same expectations. Our relationships are the best they’ve been throughout my four years.”

With the BL title in hand and what will surely be high expectations when the state tournament starts Nov. 8, Starziski said she’s excited to see what happens next.

“Our team is definitely one of a kind,” she told the Republican-American after the BL title clincher. “We’ve been through it all. We genuinely deserve this.”