HARVEST, Ala. (WHNT) — The Sparkman girl’s soccer team is off to the Final Four for the first time in program history, thanks in large part to the play of senior goalkeeper Audrey Edwards.
In two games last week, she allowed just one goal coming off of a penalty kick and posted a 4-0 shutout over Bob Jones in the quarterfinals. For that, she is the Hiley Mazda Key Athlete of the Week.
“She really, she saves us. Game in and game out, that’s why we’ve got Sparkman in the final four,” Sparkman girls soccer head coach Samuel Tidmore said.
“I’m going to be honest it felt really nice to be putting myself out there to the best of my ability because I feel like those two games were my best games and we hit on all cylinders in the Bob Jones game too so it felt really good that I was on point and my team was on point,” Edwards said.
You might think goalies love being under pressure, maybe that’s why they picked the position in the first place, but that’s not always the case.
Edwards has been in the net for almost a decade now and starting out she didn’t always feel ready to handle those stressful situations. But now, she’s built up the confidence to lead her team to where they are now.
“It’s just a lot of physicality that I have to put out for myself, I have to use my body in a lot of different ways on the field and just block everything. Just knowing that I need to do what I’m doing my best at, just staying humble throughout everything,” Edwards said.
“She’s been playing goalie her whole life and she’s been receiving good coaching her whole life and we just trust Audrey as a person and as a player. What makes any goalkeeper a good goalkeeper is when your defense gets beat and you’re holding your breath and the other team takes a shot, Audrey comes through for us. She performs under pressure. No moment is too big for Audrey, we know she’s going to show up and give her best effort,” Tidmore added.
No matter what happens this week in the Final Four, Edwards says she’s just excited to make history alongside some of her closest friends.
“It’s special and we hate to see her go. She’s not just a good soccer player, she’s a really special player, she’s a great role model for these younger kids out here and she’s a good friend to a lot of her teammates,” Tidmore said.
“It feels so memorable in some ways. I just feel like this is our year and it’s such a great feeling. They’re just amazing friends and sisters that I got to grow up with and it’s amazing that we got to do this all together and we’re going to win together,” Edwards added.
We are always looking for standout student-athletes in the Tennessee Valley to feature! If you have a high-school-aged athlete that you would like to nominate for Hiley Mazda Key Athlete of the week, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.