Syzmecki lighting a spark off the bench for the Owls during sophomore campaign
Michael Riccio – Sports Editor
Lukas Szymecki has been playing soccer since he was five years old. He said his biggest obstacle came during his junior season of high school when he suffered a concussion.
“It was really severe,” Szymecki said. “That was tough to come back from, especially missing school and it was in a tough time too because that’s when you’re supposed to start looking at colleges and start looking at future playing.”
Szymecki’s Wethersfield High School team won the Central Connecticut Conference during his junior season. He scored the game-winning goal during the championship game against Glastonbury.
Just a sophomore, the Owls’ forward has a knack for scoring in close games during his Southern career. When he was a freshman, Szymecki scored the game tying goal in the second half in a game against No. 9 ranked Merrimack on the road. The Owls eventually went on to to win 2-1.
This season, Szymecki scored the game-winning goal against Bridgeport in overtime. In the next game against Concordia, he scored at the 84:07 mark of the game to give the Owls a two goal lead. Szymecki said he enjoyed those moments and wants stay prepared for those types of situations.
“It was just a big rush,”
Szymecki said. “It was definitely exciting. It was good to get off to a quick start, slowed down a little bit but it felt good.”
Szymecki is no stranger to playing in big games either, as his teams at Wethersfield made runs to the state finals. He used that experience in last season’s games against Saint Rose and Merrimack in the NE10 tournament and District of Columbia in the NCAA Tournament.
“That was sick,” Szymecki said. “We had a decent run in the conference tournament. NCAA’s was really cool because we went down to Long Island and we stay in the hotel’s so it was a cool experience. Our result was unfortunate but the experience was really, really exciting.”
Zak Wright, a junior captain for the team, said he has seen Szymecki improve his movement off the ball and tactical understanding.
“The transition to the college level can be challenging,” Wright said. “Players are more athletic, technical and the game itself much more tactical than anything players experience in high school. Lukas has taken strides in his time here to become a more polished finisher. He has a great mindset and will continue to improve as a member of the team.”
Wright said Szymecki offers the Owls a different option to break down teams and he provides a quality shift when he is called to come in the game. “Lukas has provided a spark of energy this season off the bench with his electric pace and athleticism,” Wright said.
“He has the ability to get in behind defenses and has scored two goals this season from breakaway opportunities.”
Szymecki said his teammates stood out to him the most during his first two seasons. Although the Owls have welcomed 14 newcomers to the team, Szymecki said the bonds he has made with the team are what has been important to him.
“My friendships,” Szymecki said “that I’ve built at Southern and the relationships I’ve built with my coaches and teammates is the biggest thing.”
Photo Credit: SCSU Athletic Communications