Devon Parker thrives in change from midfield to attack

first_imgIn the fall, head coach Gary Gait knew Syracuse needed a left-handed attack for the 2017 season and surveyed his options. He found someone he thought might work.During a pre-fall ball practice, the team rotated through midfielders. Some that were not playing their usual position had to stay back on attack, including senior Devon Parker. The lefty was already half of what Gait was looking for. She also played offensive midfielder and had the offensive mentality.“I remember our coach saying something like ‘What do you think about moving to attack?’” Parker said, “and I said ‘It’s definitely something I would want to do if the position was available.’”Parker made the switch, which increased the senior’s opportunities. So far, she has quadrupled her point total from last season for No. 11 SU (8-3, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) and proved crucial in a 12-goal second half comeback against then-unranked Virginia. She’ll be a focal point when the Orange takes on No. 8 Princeton (6-1, 2-0 Ivy) on Wednesday night.The fast pace of the game and the influence of her brother got Parker into the sport. She started playing in third grade, primarily at midfield. She always enjoyed the offensive side more than the defensive and would typically take more reps at offense. Parker never thought about playing attack until after she talked to Gait.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I thought, ‘You know what, it might be a good fit for her,’” Gait said. “I think it’s been a great fit so far. She’s had some very good games. Certainly UVA was the highlight, leading the comeback for us but, she’s still learning.”After making the switch, Parker spent a lot of time in the fall taking reps. She knew she’d have more looks this season at her new position and would go out with the goalies on the team to practice her shooting.“I kind of pinched myself a few times in the fall,” Parker said, “and kept the ball rolling. I tried not to think about it too much.”Currently, Parker is fifth on the team in points with 16. Her 12 goals and four assists are career highs for the senior. The 12 goals also put her at sixth on the team overall.To start the second half against UVA, Taylor Gait flipped the ball to Parker. Parker turned and shot the ball, hitting the back of the net. Her first and third goals of the game bookended a 6-1 run by the Orange and her final goal of tied it at 15-15.“Devon Parker was a big part of (the comeback),” UVA head coach Julie Myers said after the March 5 game in the Carrier Dome.Parker hasn’t registered many points since the Virginia game. She recorded an assist in the loss to No. 1 Maryland and a goal against No. 3 Florida but nothing in the last two games. With big conference games coming up, including Duke on Sunday, Parker will have to step up on attack.“I know that my mentality is to buy into what the coaches say,” Parker said, “to work hard. I’ve enjoyed my four years here and it’s almost like icing on top of the cake to be able to get in and get those minutes.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 28, 2017 at 10:28 pm Contact Kaci: [email protected]last_img

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