All-County Field Hockey

Glenelg senior Alyssa Parker earned Player of the Year honors for the third year in a row. Her freshman year, her sister Lauriann won the honor. (Staff photo by Jen Rynda, Patuxent Publishing / December 15, 2011)

In its third telling, the story isn't fresh, but it's still worth revisiting. Growing up Alyssa Parker wanted to be a soccer player, the next Mia Hamm. Failing that, basketball was her second love.

"I wanted to play basketball at Maryland. That was the dream," she said.

There's a basketball court at her house and some worried that she might be lured to a private school to pursue her basketball passion.

Instead, she followed her older siblings to Glenelg. Her freshman year was her sister Lauriann's senior year.

Submit a Letter to the Editor for the Laurel Leader, Columbia Flier and Howard County Times

Their parents, Doug and Jean, had started the Howard County Stampede youth hockey team. Lauriann liked the sport; Alyssa not so much. Too slow, she said.

Then as she watched Lauriann play at Glenelg, and attended the field hockey booster camp there, she saw hockey in a different light.

"I saw how it was faster and took a lot more skill," she said. "In field hockey you have to use all of your teammates and be smart. I liked the challenge."

Alyssa worked hard so that she could make the varsity as a freshman and play on the same team as her sister.

"Lauriann taught me my place," Parker says. "I wasn't going to shoot as a freshman. It was pass the ball to the open senior."

That philosophy has been in place ever since — pass to the open senior. "Personally, I really like the assists," Parker said. "I just like giving the ball to my teammates and incorporating them and not making it all about myself."

In her four years on varsity, Parker has recorded phenomenal career statistics — 114 goals and 108 assists. She is thought to be the second girl in the nation to surpass the 100-100 mark.

Named the Columbia Flier/Howard County Times field hockey Player of the Year for the third consecutive year, Parker is simply the best.

The Washington Post and Baltimore Sun have made her their Player of the Year for the second year in a row.

Yet Parker is unfailingly humble; it's not about her. Examples: "We don't care who scores, just get the ball over the goal line." "I couldn't have done it without my teammates." "We wanted to win this year's state championship for Miss Kincaid."

Ginger Kincaid had to force Parker to take the game ball after her 100th goal and her 100th assist. "Someday you'll realize how big this is," the coach told her.

Glenelg field hockey has always been good, but Parker helped take the program to a different level. "She definitely was the heart and soul and the driving force of our team," Kincaid said. "Mary Kate (Olson) was her silent partner in it all and I would hate to think how we'd be without them."

Parker was a magician with her stick. She has great timing. She knows how to play a defender and get them to bite, then she explodes by them with a dodge. She knows how to vary her speed, how to stop the ball on a dime and reverse stick it into the upper corner of the goal cage.

She was the catalyst for the greatest era in Glenelg field hockey — four county championships, one District V title, one state semifinal appearance and back-to-back state titles. The team scored 151 goals this year and 136 last year.

"Alyssa just loves to play. You can see it in every step she takes on the field. Watching her is like watching unbridled joy," Kincaid said. "She loves to do the little things of the game and it all adds up to her being a great player."

Parker had 37 goals this season, but only twice did she have four goals in a game.