Mahar grad Parker closes field hockey career at Providence

  • Mahar Regional graduate Allyson Parker of the Providence College field hockey team playing against Louisville in September.  COURTESY/STEW MILNE/PROVIDENCE COLLEGE ATHLETICS

  • Mahar Regional graduate Allyson Parker playing for the Providence College field hockey team during her senior season.  COURTESY/PROVIDENCE COLLEGE ATHLETICS

  • Mahar Regional graduate Allyson Parker of the Providence College field hockey team playing against Louisville in September.  COURTESY/STEW MILNE/PROVIDENCE COLLEGE ATHLETICS

  • Mahar Regional graduate Allyson Parker playing for the Providence College field hockey team against LIU during her junior season.  COURTESY/STEW MILNE/PROVIDENCE COLLEGE ATHLETICS

  • Mahar Regional graduate Allyson Parker playing for the Providence College field hockey team against LIU during her junior season.  COURTESY/STEW MILNE/PROVIDENCE COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/21/2019 8:19:00 PM

Mahar Regional School graduate Allyson Parker picked up field hockey for the first time just after finishing sixth grade.

“There weren’t any feeder programs in town,” Parker said. “I had to travel to Greenfield on the weekends to start playing club.”

Parker jumped into the field hockey world for a simple reason: she disliked soccer and admittedly wasn’t very good at it.

“Initially, I loved that it wasn’t soccer,” Parker said of the sport. “Which is funny because Delaney (Parker) is so good at soccer. I remember I was so fast, and I would take the ball up the field and I would just kick it right at the goalie.”

Delaney Parker, Allyson’s younger sister, is now the all-time leading scorer for the Mahar girls soccer program.

“Growing up I hated soccer,” Allyson said. “I just needed to try something else. I picked up field hockey and was kind of good at it. I guess I liked it.”

The decision to play field hockey paid dividends for Parker, who eventually became one of the best players in Western Massachusetts.

Parker had a prolific high school career for the Mahar field hockey program, scoring 101 goals and earning a scholarship to Division I Providence College.

Parker’s playing time with the Friars gradually increased before becoming a full-time starter during her junior season in 2018.

Her career with the Friars came to a close after Providence fell in the Big East semifinals to nationally ranked UConn, 2-0, on Nov. 8.

Providence finished the season at 12-7 with a 4-3 record in the Big East.

“It was a great year,” Parker said. “Everyone just wanted it. There was a good energy and culture on our team. Definitely a good way to finish out my career.”

UConn was ranked No. 3 in the nation at the time, and went on to the Elite 8 before losing to Princeton.

“It’s a great honor to make the Big East tournament,” Parker said. “Unfortunately we always went in as a lower seed than we wanted. We always played a team who had a little better season than us.”

Her senior season featured a positional change, with Parker moving to the back end to shore up Providence’s defensive unit.

“It went pretty smoothly,” Parker said. “I love defense. I understood that the team needed me in a new position and I was willing to take on that new role. It was exciting for me to be the one stealing the ball from someone.”

The historic success of the Mahar girls soccer program was on Parker’s radar all season. But during the Western Mass. semifinals, when Delaney Parker scored the game-winning goal in double overtime, Allyson was in a lengthy class with a no-electronic policy.

The messages from family kept lighting up her Apple watch. 

Around the time Delaney Parker scored the game-winner, Allyson got a FaceTime request.

“I was getting all these messages on my watch but I couldn’t do anything,” Parker said. “When I got the FaceTime I thought they definitely won.”

Parker eventually excused herself from the class for a bathroom visit and got the official good news about the Senators making the Western Mass. finals. 

“That was so exciting,” Parker said. “She (Delaney Parker) got the recognition she deserves.”

With a full semester still on the horizon, Parker has multiple job offers in the accounting world. With an abundance of unusual free time, Parker will enjoy college before entering the workforce.

“Right now I am just going to take this time to hang out with my friends,” Parker said. “Have some time to myself. Just enjoy the time I didn’t necessarily have before.”

Her time playing collegiate field hockey went by quickly, especially after her freshman season when she didn’t get much playing time.

“It went by so fast,” Parker said. “It was honestly such an rewarding experience. I am so thankful for it and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

Parker played in 71 games for the Friars, with 43 starts. In the last two seasons, Parker started all 38 games for Providence.

She finished her career with 10 goals and six assists.

Parker accounted for six game-winning goals with four coming during her junior season. 

Eventually, Parker could continue to play field hockey.

“It’s tough with field hockey because there aren’t many opportunities to play after,” Parker said. “I am sure I will get involved with a pick-up league eventually.”

Parker will join the workforce very quickly after graduation. A finance accounting major, she has already accepted a position at RSM US LLP, which is an audit, tax and consulting firm with dozens of locations in the United States.

“It’s nice going into my last semester with that weight lifted off my shoulders,” Parker said.




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