Parker continues hot scoring streak in ACC tournament for Syracuse women's lacrosse

SU senior Devon Parker has scored in eight of the past nine games in what has been a career year for the attacker.

Devon Parker walked along the SU Soccer Stadium field with her parents by her side and a smile blooming on her face. Recognized on Senior Day, she was welcomed with applause from a thousand Syracuse University women's lacrosse fans.

This applause was directed for the senior from Rye, N.H., who has played the past four years at Syracuse. Following the brief celebration for seniors prior to the game against ACC foe Virginia Tech, Parker rejoined her teammates for pre-game introductions. She then ran through a line of high fives by her teammates, where fellow senior Abby Connor greeted her at the end.

Photo: William Muoio
Devon Parker shoots on net during Syracuse's 12-11 OT win April 9 against Virginia Tech at the SU Soccer Stadium.

Parker’s statistics have skyrocketed in her final season with the Orange. During this past offseason, Parker transitioned from midfield to attack to be an offensive weapon with her left-handed stroke. Parker is tied for the fourth highest point total  with 37 points, along with fellow attack Alie Jimerson.

This ability to attack from the right half of the field is how she dominated and gave her opportunities to score, something she had done only seven times in her first three years in an Orange uniform. This included zero goals during her sophomore year.

Parker opened the season with a goal in Syracuse’s 18-8 win over Boston College in the Carrier Dome. Teammate Riley Donahueran down the goal side of the goal line, which drew a Boston College defender from in front of the crease. This gave her an easy pass to Parker, who was able to quickly catch and shoot passed the flailing goalie.

This Donahue-to-Parker partnership proved pivotal in leading Syracuse to a 13-5 overall, 5-2 ACC record during the regular season. Of Parker’s 23 regular season goals, 11 came from a pass from Donahue. This included the game against Virginia Tech at SU Soccer Stadium. With only 44 seconds played, Parker received a pass from Donahue in front of net, moved to her right and dumped the ball across the goal before falling to the ground. This was Parker’s first of three scores on the afternoon in the 12-11 OT win.

Devon Parker and team huddle ahead of game against Virginia Tech on April 9.

SU teammates welcome Devon Parker (11) onto the field during the April 9 home match against Virginia Tech (Photo: William Muoio)

Parker’s most impressive performance occurred on March 2, when the Orange hosted Virginia. SU found itself in an 11-4 hole at halftime. After contributing no points in the first half, Parker capitalized on a man-up opportunity off of a pass from Taylor Gait and scored at the one-minute mark. Parker would keep scoring, whether it was through an assist from a teammate or with a free position score.

Her fifth goal of the afternoon ended up being the game-tying score with 8:33 remaining. She received a pass from Nicole Levy, and placed the ball past Rachel Vander Kolk. Syracuse won the game 16-15.

Following the game, Parker reflected on how the game changed for her.

“First half I know that I personally came out a little flat on the movement side,” Parker said. “And the second half my focus was on constant movement and go hard to net because it opened up many opportunities and by doing that kind of sparked the offense.”

This was not the only time Parker would have a five-point game. On April 18, Syracuse played its final regular season home game in the Carrier Dome against Cornell, where Parker scored three times and added two assists to defeat the in-state rival and finish the season 8-1 in home games. Parker’s final goal gave Syracuse a 6-5 advantage, their first lead of the game.

Following the Cornell game, SU head coach Gary Gait said Parker and Donahue were a few of the players that changed the game in favor of the Orange.

“Some of our players stepped up, a couple of them up here [referring to Parker and Donahue], and made some plays to give us the lead,” Gait said.

Gait also spoke about how the offense was able to adapt to what Cornell was changing on defense and capitalize on early opportunities.

“I know Devon got one in the second half to get us going. It was a big one,” Gait said.

Parker finished the regular season scoring in six consecutive games, including a pair of three-goal contests against Virginia Tech and Cornell. She added two goals in the ACC quarterfinal matchup against Virginia Tech on April 27, where the Orange beat Virginia Tech 20-13. While Parker's streak ended the next day during the ACC semifinals, however Syracuse's beat Virginia 15-13 to reach their third straight ACC women's lacrosse championship.

Parker started a new streak during the ACC women's lacrosse championship against North Carolina. Her two second-half goals were not enough though as the Orange fell to North Carolina, 18-11, for the second straight year.

Seven days after their defeat to North Carolina, Parker and the Orange were awarded the sixth seed in the NCAA tournament. They will face the winner of Boston College and Canisius on May 14. Parker scored against both teams on Feb. 11 and 18, respectively.

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