Parker ‘an amazing talent’Published 8:45pm Saturday, September 29, 2012
Lakeland field hockey player Summer Parker won the Suffolk News-Herald’s Player of the Week contest this week in a manner that befits her dominant team, earning 336 votes from Lakeland fans and other SNH readers.
Parker, a junior, is also a leader on the field, having led Lakeland (11-0, 6-0) in scoring last week with five goals and an assist. Four of those goals came in a 10-1 victory over Nansemond River. The fifth came in an intense 1-0 win against Cox.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game,” Parker said. “So, we weren’t expecting to get a lot of goals.”
Lady Cavaliers coach Tara Worley said that with about four and a half minutes left in the game, Parker took the ball down the left side of the field, turned the corner, and dribbled up the end line through three or four defenders toward the goal.
“I’m talking about carrying the ball inches from the end line,” Worley said. “And (she) backhanded, lifted the ball up — now, she’s from the side of the goal, this is what’s amazing — lifted the ball up and shot it into the back right corner of the goal, and the goalie swung with her glove to try to get it and didn’t get it.”
This performance represents what Worley said makes Parker special.
“Summer is not, on sight, your typical field hockey player,” Worley said. “Summer is extremely crafty with her stick. She has an amazing talent of moving the ball, protecting the ball through a lot of players on what I consider to be one of the hardest positions to play at left forward, the way you have to turn that left corner and go against the strong side of the defense.”
Parker, who leads the team this year with 24 goals, enjoys the left forward position because of the challenge.
“Yeah, that’s their strong side,” Parker said. “It’s easier for them to stop, but I like getting around them, because it should be harder for me to get around them and it’s fun when I do.”
“I’ll be honest,” Worley said, “a lot of times you feel like Summer doesn’t have a good shot, somehow she finds a crease three inches wide that she can squeeze a ball into — I can never explain it.”
Parker’s player-coach relationship with Worley has lasted as long as her field hockey career.
“I’ve been playing with Ms. Worley since I was six or seven,” she said.
That partnership has included the 2010 team that won the Virginia AAA State Championship, which was a special year for Parker.
“It was really good, because that was my freshman year, first year on varsity,” she said. “It really helped me to know how to play on a varsity level, instead of on a JV level. It was a much faster game.”
If Lakeland repeats the 2010 team’s performance, it will be in large part due to the unselfishness of Parker and her teammates.
“The best thing about my team is they really truly don’t care who scores, as long as we score,” Worley said. “And that’s hard to come by.”
Parker’s strong play is motivated by a desire to make her family proud. What she enjoys most about playing field hockey is quite simple — “just being with all my friends and just having a team to be a part of,” she said.
She also runs indoor track and plays softball, but hopes to go to a Virginia college on a field hockey scholarship. Scouts have already begun reaching out.
Following are this week’s Player of the Week nominees:
- Quinby Hines, senior setter for the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy volleyball team — She recorded 32 assists, three kills, six aces, and six digs during the Lady Saints’ victory against Greenbrier Christian.
- Addison Peak, sophomore running back for Nansemond-Suffolk Academy — He led NSA in offensive yardage with 115 rushing yards on eight carries and a touchdown against Virginia Episcopal. His 60-yard touchdown run against the Bishops helped spark the blowout win.
- Latrell “Vegas” Sandifer, junior running back for Nansemond River — He carried the ball 31 times for 197 yards and a touchdown against Deep Creek. Sandifer is so small, he can hardly be seen in the huddle.
- Marvin Branch, junior linebacker for Nansemond River — He scooped a blocked punt and ran it back 43 yards for a touchdown and then followed up with a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown against Deep Creek.
Vote by 7 p.m. Wednesday by sending an email with the subject “Player of the Week” to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also vote on our Facebook page and on the SNH homepage.
Next Sunday, we’ll feature the readers’ choice in a story on the sports page.
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