Andrews fits right in
There was no adjustment period needed for Ryan Andrews when he returned to the St. Catharines WMKL junior B Athletics this season.
The 18-year-old St. Catharines native missed the first few games of the Ontario Lacrosse Association regular season while he was finishing up his freshman year at the University of Montevallo where he attends school on a field lacrosse scholarship.
“He didn’t skip a beat,” A’s coach Alec Tamas said. “He was right back in. He knew the systems and fit in like a glove.”
Indeed, Andrews scored in his first game and has scored in his first eight games since his return totalling nine goals and 17 points.
Andrews enjoyed his time at the NCAA Division 2 school, but is glad to be back.
“It was a good time. It was down in Alabama so it was different than up here. I got a lot of playing time and played in every game as a freshman,” he said. “It’s a great time down there but the last month you’re missing your family and the people back home but I wasn’t really homesick though.”
Andrews said he feels the experience has made him a better overall player.
“I think how much we practice down there, five, six times a week and with the weight room open to me all the time, the amount of training has helped a lot,” he said. “I’m in a lot better shape.”
Andrews, who graduated from Notre Dame, feels the box game is more suited to his style.
“I think I like box a little more. I’m a little more at home, it’s more fast paced and a lot rougher so I can do my thing more,” he said.
Tamas and the A’s coaching staff have been so impressed with Andrews they named him an assistant captain after a couple of games back.
“He’s an unbelievable kid. His leadership qualities are unmatched,” Tamas said. “He’s one of the hardest working kids on and off the floor. Not only does he show it through his work ethic, but he’s also a very vocal leader, very positive, very reinforcing on the bench. He’s pointing guys in the right direction.
“He’s a floor general. He’s loud and communicates a lot which is something overall as a team we lacked. He’s one of the more vocal ones on the back end which is almost the most important part of defence, being able to talk a lot.”
Andrews, who said he was often captain growing up playing minor lacrosse or hockey, is comfortable on either side of the ball.
“I like playing transition. I wouldn’t say I want to be strictly an O guy or strictly a D guy. I think I’m faster than most people so when I get the ball on the D side I can get a head start and no one is catching me,” he said.
The A’s ran their record to 10-2 with a 21-11 win over the Welland Generals Tuesday night at Canada Games Park.
Cody McNeil had five goals and three assists for the A’s while Ian Kohut added four goals and five assists and Landon Jeckles three goals and four assists. Ari Steenhuis, Colin Walters and Ben Smellie chipped in with two goals each while singles went to Lochlan Belliveau, Jack Parker and Colton Armitage.
Avery Steinbach-Parker had four goals for Welland while Keenan Point added three. Hayden Miller had two goals while Nodin Buck and Dawson Battersby also scored. Battersby also chipped in with six assists.
“Overall, definitely pretty happy,” Tamas said of the A’s start. “It was a good first half of the season. A couple of tough losses but we were right in those games against tough teams. We can’t get complacent. We have to continue to get better every single day, every game and continue to push ourselves the last half of the season.”
The A’s visit the Generals Thursday in Welland before hosting Guelph Saturday at 4 p.m.
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