2024 Northwest Herald Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year: Huntley’s Nico Andrews

Andrews changes game for Red Raiders to succeed

Huntley’s Nico Andrews, left, gets past Hampshire’s Wesley Davis in varsity lacrosse at Huntley Thursday night.

Huntley senior Nico Andrews had to make a sacrifice in order for the Red Raiders to succeed this season.

Andrews earned success as a junior by attacking and becoming one of the top scoring threats in the Fox Valley Conference. But the Red Raiders needed Andrews to defer more as a senior since he attracted more attention from each opponent’s top defender.

“We lost a lot of valuable seniors last year in role positions, so I knew I was going to have to step up and really help show the younger kids, just to know your role and do what you need to do,” Andrews said. “This year, I had to be more of a passer and help everyone around me.”

Andrews transforming his game helped Huntley continue its success. The Raiders went undefeated in the FVC and won their fourth straight conference title.

Despite the changes, Andrews still enjoyed success from the attack position. He finished with 53 goals, 47 assists and had a 62% shooting percentage. Andrews also added more defensive statistics with 47 ground balls and 15 takeaways. Andrews earned FVC all-conference honors for a second straight season and will play lacrosse at Columbia University in Missouri.

For his efforts and sacrifice for his team, Andrews was named the 2024 Northwest Herald Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year.

Andrews recently talked with sports reporter Michal Dwojak about making adjustments to his game, what he’ll remember the most about this season’s team and his favorite part about lacrosse.

Huntley's Nico Andrews tries to run move against Palatine's Austin Cortez during a boys lacrosse match Tuesday, May 3, 2022, between Huntley and Palatine at Huntley High School.

How did you feel like your year went?

Andrews: I thought as a team this year I didn’t have as high expectations as last year. But from the beginning, we had a strong sophomore class with the strong leadership of the seniors that helped a lot, giving them a role on the team. I’m proud of us. I wasn’t expecting this, and we did a lot better than I thought.

Was it tough to make those adjustments?

Andrews: No, I’ve always been a more pass-first person, but the last few years I’ve had to start keeping the ball a little bit more to myself. This year I put a lot of trust in my teammates and that made it easy.

What did it mean to continue the program’s recent success this season?

Andrews: It’s great. It’s just good to see that the program is going in a good way. I don’t see it going a different way anytime soon.

What do you think you’ll remember most about this team?

Andrews: I felt like we were an on-the-radar team, going to be pretty decent, but I think we did a lot better that we expected. In the tougher games we had this year we kept up.

Which team was the most challenging this year?

Andrews: It was definitely Lake Forest in our first game because we played a solid first half, but we didn’t have a lot of chemistry as a team. It being our first game, we weren’t prepared. But they showed us what high-level lacrosse is like.

What will you remember most about your senior year and time at Huntley?

Andrews: Just growing up with my friends. I’ve been playing with them through youth Huntley lacrosse for so long. Just seeing where we all came from and finished is great.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Andrews: I think FVC all-conference in general. As I came in as a freshman and then I got hurt my sophomore year, I was a little upset I didn’t have a chance to win all-conference. But the next two years, it made me work harder for it. I’m grateful for that.

What is your favorite movie?

Andrews: My favorite movie is “Whiplash.” I’m not a big jazz person, but I loved this movie. I was very engaged the whole movie.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?

Andrews: Probably Tennessee because you have everything. You have nice views and warm weather, you’re not far from much.

What is your favorite thing about lacrosse?

Andrews: My favorite part about lacrosse is that it’s a combination of most games. It has concepts of basketball, it’s got that physicality. It’s like hockey, it’s very fast, and I think the fast-paced game is what keeps me so engaged.

If there was one thing you could change about lacrosse, what would it be?

Andrews: I would want to have a shot clock in high school because sometimes when you’re losing a game and need the ball back, the team can just hold it for so long.

What is your favorite area restaurant?

Andrews: My favorite restaurant is Outback Steakhouse. I like to get the filet.

What does it mean for you to continue to play lacrosse in college?

Andrews: It’s always been a lifetime goal. I’ve always wanted to play at the next level, so I’m excited that I reached my goal.

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