Compared with past summers, 2011 was pretty low-key for Sheaffer Skadsen.
Her college decision made — a year ago she committed to Arizona — and her club soccer commitments at a minimum, she was able to spend more time with friends and look forward to helping the Skyview girls soccer program make state playoff trips a habit.
Oh, and squeeze in a little heart surgery.
An episode with a racing heartbeat led to a diagnosis of Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome. She had too many of the nodes that fire electrical charges to make the heart beat. So she had the extra nodes shut down surgically.
Girls Soccer Preview
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kavita Batan, jr., Hockinson, Aurora Bodenhamer, jr., Hockinson; Ellie Boon, jr., Washougal; Jocelyn Burgess, sr., La Center; Bobbi Eckler, jr., Union; Bri Hill, sr., Evergreen; Hannah Johnson, sr., Skyview; Olivia Lovell, sr., Camas; Carlee Maluenda, jr., Union; Nicole Mattson, jr., Evergreen; Lauren Oljar, sr., Camas; Becca Sikora, sr., Skyview; Sheaffer Skadsen, sr., Skyview; Alexa Whitney, jr., Hudson’s Bay.
4A GSHL — Skyview is the defending league champion and consensus favorite to win the title, but this league could be more competitive than it has been in several years. Union, Evergreen and Battle Ground each might contend for the league title, and with teams clashing three times in league play the battle for the league’s three postseason berths promises to be, well, a battle.
3A GSHL — Camas is ranked fifth by the Seattle Times. The Papermankers have tradition and talent. But Columbia River figures to push for a league title, while Prairie will try to build off last season’s run to the state semifinals.
2A GSHL — Hockinson has owned this league in recent years, and with all of their starters back from their 2010 league championship team the Hawks are the team to beat. Washougal, led by Ellie Boon and a maturing roster, might contend along with Mark Morris.
1A Trico League — Ridgefield looks like the team to beat with La Center, White Samon and Toledo expected to battle for the other two postseason spots.
“It was my first experience with any kind of surgery,” Skadsen said, admitting she was nervous about the experience.
It wasn’t however, her first experience with listening to her body.
Skadsen is diabetic, so to play soccer she must make sure she eats right.
In 2010, she was diagnosed with a thickening of a heart muscle. It was during a checkup to monitor that condition that the WPW Syndrome was spotted.
Skadsen’s trepidation over the heart procedure was short-lived, as was recovery time. Two weeks after the procedure, Skadsen was back on the soccer field.
Plans to make her fourth and final season of soccer at Skyview High School special were again knocked askew last Thursday, when Skadsen broke her nose attempting a header during a match against Battle Ground.
On Tuesday, after consulting with a doctor, she decided not to have her nose reset because that would have meant missing more than a month of this season. Instead, Skadsen will miss two matches this week but expects to be back next week.
“It was more of a cosmetic thing,” Skadsen said. “I’d rather play soccer than have a straight nose.”
Skadsen’s nose for the goal figures to be key if the Storm are going to make another deep playoff run.
Last season, Skadsen scored 15 goals, including one in each of four state playoff matches, as she helped the Storm reach the Class 4A state semifinals.
It was the first time a Skyview girls soccer team won a state playoff game. And 2010 was the last hurrah for a Storm squad that had pretty much been intact for three seasons, since Skadsen entered the lineup as a freshman. That team graduated a strong group of seniors.
Skadsen said getting a taste of success should help this year’s Storm move forward without the leaders of last season.
“We still have a strong group. I have the confidence that we can accomplish a lot,” she said.
Skadsen’s contribution will be scoring goals. She played central defender for her club and Olympic Development Program teams. She is not yet sure what position she will play at Arizona, but this high school season might be her last shot as a forward.
Skadsen said the experience playing central defender at a high level helps her attack high school defenses because she knows what the best forwards do to give defenders fits. And seeing the whole field from the back line helps her read the flow of play from up front.
When Skadsen returns to the Storm lineup, don’t expect her to shy away from contact. She is determined to make state playoff success a habit for Skyview girls soccer.
At the same time, Skadsen said that being pushed by her high school teammates and opponents can make her a stronger, even more confident, player. One who is ready for the challenge of playing at the University of Arizona.
“They don’t want the player they recruited,” she said. “They want a college player.”