Glenelg’s Alyssa Parker winds down what may be the best field hockey career in Washington area history
By Greg Schimmel,
In the stands, the Glenelg parents cheered loudly — but then, they’re always a little rowdy — and Parker celebrated briefly with her teammates. Except for a quick switch out of the game ball, there was little indication that the first of Parker’s three goals in a 7-0 win was anything special. But she had just accomplished something that no other field hockey player in this area is believed to have done: Score 100 goals in her high school career.
“The Glenelg parents were so funny, they all went crazy,” Parker said. “I was so embarrassed. All I wanted to do was keep playing but everyone kept cheering.”
Heading into Wednesday’s Maryland 2A semifinal against Queen Anne’s, Parker’s career total stands at 109 goals, a staggering number in a sport where low-scoring games are the norm.
When she scored the milestone goal against Mount Hebron, Parker became only the fifth active player in the country to reach 100 for her career, according to the field hockey Web site TopoftheCircle.com.
Her goal total could be even higher, though, if she didn’t pass up so many scoring opportunities. Three nights after Parker’s 100th goal, she recorded her 100th career assist in a game against Towson, becoming only the second player in the recorded history of the National Federation of State High School Associations to reach triple digits in both stats.
“I like the 100 assists a lot more,” said Parker, who has orally committed to play for Maryland, the defending NCAA champion. “It’s about the team effort.”
Parker has accounted for nearly half of the 451 goals Glenelg has scored in her four seasons, and the Gladiators have gone 67-8-1 during the span, without suffering a loss to a Howard County opponent. Parker led them to their first state title last year.
As her senior season concludes this week with Glenelg favored to win a second straight state crown, Parker has already secured her legacy as one of the best high school field hockey player ever to come out of this area.
“I haven’t seen a player like her in a long time,” said Bethesda-Chevy Chase Coach Amy Wood, who has won 10 state championships and produced 15 first-team All-Mets in 19 seasons. “I have not ever seen a goal scorer [like her] in this area. She is a special talent, and she could have far more goals, but she has as many assists.”
Watch Parker play for even a few minutes, and it’s easy to see how she has racked up such monumental numbers.
Parker is a legitimate threat to score every time she has the ball on her stick within 50 yards of the goal. Her blazing speed, dazzling stick skills, superior field vision and precision passing are all simply unmatched at the local high school level.
She has a blistering shot, can connect passes to her teammates from any angle, and seems to cover more distance on the field than anybody else. In a game last month against South River, she made a long run down the field and flipped a back-handed, no-look pass from the top of the circle toward a teammate in front of the cage for a goal.
“She gets right in front of that goal, and she passes it,” Glenelg senior midfielder Mary Kate Olson said. “That’s what she does, and it’s amazing that she’s so unselfish.”
As good as she is now, Parker didn’t even like field hockey growing up.
She tried it briefly when she was in elementary school because her mother, Jean, had played at Mount Hebron, but she gave it up and instead excelled in youth soccer because she thought field hockey was too slow.
When her older sister by three years, Lauriann, started playing field hockey for Glenelg, Lauriann and her friends persuaded Alyssa to take up the sport again as a middle schooler, and she attended camps before beginning to play at the club level for the Washington Wolves as an eighth-grader.
Parker starred for Glenelg right away, scoring 13 goals and 10 assists as a freshman in 2008; as a sophomore, she had 26 goals and 24 assists and earned first-team All-Met honors. Last year, she was named the All-Met Player of the Year after recording an area-high 38 goals and 38 assists in 20 games. This fall, Parker leads the area in both goals (32) and assists (35).
According to TopoftheCircle.com, she is the only high school player ever to have at least 30 goals and 30 assists in the same season twice.
She became a two-time Junior Olympian, and for three years has participated in USA Field Hockey’s Futures Elite program. She was also a highly coveted national recruit who received attention from more collegiate field hockey programs than she can remember before she decided on Maryland.
Parker still has more to accomplish, but when her high school career ends with this year’s state title run, it will be impossible to question all she has done.
“She’s just an amazing player,” said Ginger Kincaid, who’s in her 35th year as Glenelg’s coach. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my tenure as a coach, and I’ll probably never see it again.”