Sydney Andrews has impressed Northwest soccer fans throughout her four-year high school career.
Come July, she will gain a much larger audience.
Andrews was recently selected to the U.S. squad that will head to Ankara, Turkey, for the World Deaf Soccer Championships in July.
Andrews said she is looking forward to representing her country.
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“It’s amazing,” she said. “I’m so excited to go represent my country, and it’s going to be a blast.”
Being a hearing-impaired player requires adjustments on the field. Andrews, who recently was moved to sweeper by coach Bobby Bribiesca, said communication on the field is a big one.
“It’s harder for my team and for me to communicate with others,” she said. “It’s more of a visual game – you have to be aware of where you are.
“It’s difficult, but it’s a lot of fun.”
For Bribiesca, who made Andrews a captain this season, it has been a delightful four years.
“She’s just a nice player to be around, a very positive individual,” he said. “She has great parents, and I think she’s just a motivator. Players give her a lot of respect.”
Once she returns, Andrews will be attending Missouri Western State in St. Joseph, where she plans to study physical therapy.
Salthawks bounce back — Hutchinson, which posted a 5-11-1 record a year ago, has bounced back nicely with a 13-3 season and will be seeded second in its regional. Still, the Salthawks have had trouble getting noticed.
Hutch is in Ark Valley Chisholm Trail Division I with Maize (15-0), which has run roughshod over all of its opponents this season. The Eagles blanked Hutch 6-0, on April 17. A week earlier, Hutch lost at Andover 4-3. Tuesday, Salina Central blanked Hutch 2-0.
Those have been the only blemishes on the Salthawks’ record.
The Salthawks’ turnaround has come about because of their senior leadership and freshman firepower.
Freshman Jordan Downing has had an immediate effect, scoring 21 goals in her first season.
“Every time she touches the ball, she’s a threat to score,” Reeves said.
Downing and senior Erinn Penny have shown great chemistry on the field.
“They have a great relationship,” Hutch coach Chris Reeves said. “We play through (Penny). She sees the field so well. Without her, I don’t know we’d have the success we’re having.”
The Hutch squad is small in number but long on quality, and has no juniors. Some of the quality can be traced to the fact that many of Reeves’ newcomers come in with club experience.
“The freshmen are used to competition and know the game,” Reeves said.
In addition, many of Hutch’s sophomores were pressed into action a year ago because of the injuries.
“We were a billboard for knee braces,” Reeves said of last season.
But that has given them valuable experience for this season and beyond, Reeves said.
“We continue to work hard in practice,” she said. “We’re not a deep team, but we play hard.
“I think we’re going to peak at the right time.”