Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

November 22, 2013

Stickler sticks with soccer for Pikeville

GRAYSON — The college choice wasn’t difficult to make for Megan Stickler, but there was more to the decision.

The two-sport standout at East Carter appeared to have a chance to play both basketball and soccer at the University of Pikeville.

Stickler went with soccer. She signed with UPike at East Carter High School on Thursday.

“At first it was hard to decide,” said the junior. “But once I started thinking about it, soccer will just make it a whole lot easier to accomplish other things.”

Stickler already knows she wants to go into the sports medicine field. Pikeville is known for its quality medical school.

She visited the campus just about a month ago, and was immediately sold.

“I really like the small campus,” she said. She added that she was also a fan of UPike girls soccer coach Gary Warford.

“He was so nice, he took me under his wing on my visit,” Stickler said.

Also factoring into staying on the soccer field was the shorter season.

“It will allow me to be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” she said.

The midfielder punched in 22 goals, good for second on the Lady Raiders’ squad this past season. She also was second on the team in assists with 11.

East Carter went 17-4-1, falling to Russell in the 16th Region Tournament semifinals.

Having played the sport since age 4, Stickler said last season was one of her best.

“It was so much fun,” she said. “I’ve played with some of those girls since I was little.”

Stickler said she improved her scoring because she changed her mental approach.

“I used to be more defensive-minded, but I’ve definitely become more of a scorer,” she said.

Stickler netted a hat trick in a 4-2 defeat of eventual region runner-up Ashland on Sept. 26.

Stickler said career highlights include winning a district championship every season and beating Russell, 2-1, in the opening round of the region tournament last season.

East Carter won the 11th Region and advanced to the Semi-State round in 2011, but Stickler missed the entire season with a broken ankle.

Stickler is currently getting set for the Lady Raiders’ basketball season, which officially begins at Elliott County on Dec. 3. The 5-foot-11 guard/forward scored 9.6 points a game in 2012-13.

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