Nichols makes defenses pay
Published 1:16 pm Saturday, April 5, 2014
Freshman Cydney Nichols has already become a familiar name to King’s Fork High School sports fans after her impressive performances on the basketball and volleyball courts.
But now, it is her outstanding play on the soccer field that has earned her Duke Automotive-Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week honors.
King’s Fork girls’ soccer coach Jason Stump provided a simple summary to explain Nichols’ ability level.
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“Athletically, she’s not a freshman,” he said.
She demonstrated this beyond-her-years quality on March 28 at Indian River High School when she put in five goals and assisted a sixth to lead her team to a 6-1 win, its first victory of the season.
The quality was even there two days prior when Great Bridge High School came to Suffolk and beat the Lady Bulldogs by four goals, but she still managed to put her team on the board.
Nichols honestly evaluated her play that week, particularly in the Indian River game.
“I think I did pretty well, I will say,” she said. “I know that I can do better, though.”
This illustrates something about Nichols that her father, a former football and basketball player, affirmed when describing his reaction to her success against the Lady Braves.
“I’m proud of her,” Overton Nichols said. “It is an accomplishment for a freshman to have that many goals, but then again, she pushes herself.”
Cydney deflected the credit to her parents when giving her opinion on why she is as good as she is at this point.
“My parents pushed me extra hard,” she said. “The bar is really high, I will say, and I appreciate them pushing me.”
Her mother, Damita Nichols, is pleased to see her excelling in sports, but said, “I’m also extremely proud of her being an honor roll student, because in our house, academics come first.”
Overton Nichols added that Cydney also has fun when she’s playing. On the soccer field, fun equals scoring.
“She belongs exactly where she is on the field,” Stump said of his striker. Including all six games played to date, Stump said Nichols has scored in five of them.
Nichols currently plays three different sports, and she does have a clear favorite — basketball.
“I just love the sport,” she said. “I love soccer too, just not as much as I love basketball.”
Though hoops is her favorite, her roots in soccer and volleyball are deep, as well.
“I started all the sports that I play now at a young age,” she said.
She started soccer around the age of 5 at the YMCA. At 8, she began playing with the Suffolk Youth Athletic Association. By the age of 12, her SYAA teammates and she made the move to the Old Dominion Soccer Club, a travel soccer organization.
Stump stated in a text message that he first saw a seventh-grade Nichols play when he coached the King’s Fork Middle School soccer team. He knew she was special then.
“She is highly competitive and athletic,” he stated. “She has a unique place in high school and club sports because not only does she have natural talents, but she backs them up and takes them to the next level with her hard work and perseverance.”
Citing what motivates her to play her best on the soccer field, Nichols said, “I just try to be better than I was before when I walked on the field the last time.”
Stump continued, “Off the field she is everything a teenage girl is. On the field she is everything an athlete should be. It will be wonderful to watch her over the years.”
This year, Nichols hopes to possibly break a couple of school soccer records and advance to regionals.