Summer lights up Lady CavsPublished 1:27pm Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Next to the word “stellar” in the dictionary, a fitting update would include Summer Parker’s senior season with the Lakeland High School field hockey team and her entire Lady Cavaliers career.
This year, she blew away her previous season records by scoring 58 goals and handing out 22 assists. The performance brought her career goal tally to 150, the 12th highest high school total in the nation according to TopOfTheCircle.com.
Lady Cavs head coach Tara Worley gave her appraisal of Parker’s 2013 season.
“I couldn’t really have asked her for anything more,” she said. “You’re talking about a kid who is extremely coach-able and humble and has a strong work ethic. She really honestly does not care who scores. She just wants to win.”
And win Lakeland did, going 22-1 this year and reaching its second state championship game in four years.
“Obviously, we wouldn’t have been where we were without what she’s done for us this year,” Worley said.
Parker put her thoughts on this year in the context of the past.
“I think I improved,” she said.
Worley agreed. Though Parker could have easily rested on her laurels after a 38-goal, 9-assist season in 2012, she did the furthest thing from it.
“She made her biggest growth between last year and this year, for sure,” Worley said. “Summer became a huge part of the entire game.”
Rather than just scoring goals, she would come back on defense when necessary, win the ball away from opposing players and re-start Lakeland’s offense.
Worley cited two key attributes of Parker’s game that explain why she has so much success. She said Parker has excellent stick skills, moving the ball around defenders, dodging them with ease.
The second attribute was one her teammates noted, too.
“She is able to score a goal in any situation,” Alexis Albright saud.
“I think her ability to receive the ball from her teammates and to find the goal/net makes her a well-rounded (field hockey) player,” Kristen Vick said.
When Parker hits the field each time, she outlined her mission.
“I try to be in a position for all my teammates to pass to me,” she said.
She was excited to reach the total of 150. “It’s pretty cool,” she said, and she put into perspective why it was such a surprise to her. “It’s kind of crazy because I scored my 100th goal this year (too).”
Virginia Commonwealth University junior forward Kendell Combs had held the all-time scoring record at Lakeland since 2010 with 109 goals, but she was not mourning its being eclipsed by 41.
“Records are made to be broken,” Combs said. “I’m super proud that Summer was the one to do that.”
Though Parker’s scoring was off-the-charts this season, so was her assisting. Worley moved Parker from her three-year home at left forward to middle forward this year.
“It was kind of weird at first,” Parker said. Eventually, she came to like it, particularly because of how she could set up her teammates for goals.
“I feel like I can support the left side and the right side a lot better,” she said. Her career assist total reached 53.
Interestingly, the bombast of her numbers contrasts strongly with her personality.
“She’s very quiet,” Worley said, and yet also noted she has the killer instinct required of a good scorer. “Sometimes it’s the quiet ones you’ve got to worry about.”
Parker will head off to play for and attend Radford University next fall, but her coach and teammates reflected on what they will remember most about the girl who helped Lakeland go 78-8 over the last four years.
In addition to her prolific offense, Alexis Albright said, “She is fun to be around,” and her sister Jamee Albright said she will remember “her funny personality.” Vick said she will most recall that Parker “was a great teammate and a great friend.”
“I just remember her kind spirits, her humbleness, her hard work, the commitment that she gave to us,” Worley said.