Framingham State star focuses
Marisa Parent knew she was in for a rough night before the Framingham State team bus even pulled up Huntington Avenue and approached Sweeney Field last Tuesday.
The former Revere High star, a sophomore on the women’s soccer team, hasn’t struggled often, entering the tilt with Wentworth tied for the team lead in goals with six. And she is the reigning Rookie of the Year in the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference, when she netted 20 points (8 goals, 4 assists) in an 8-8-1 season.
But with Calculus 2 giving her heartburn this semester and a take-home quiz due at 8:30 the next morning, Parent wasn’t ready to play soccer.
The Rams lost, 5-1. All four of Parent’s shots on goal were off the mark. “I’m always worried about my schoolwork first,” Parent said. “School stresses me out a lot. I’m more of a student first, before soccer. So if I’m not doing good in a class, it can throw off my game a lot.”
Ranked ninth in her 2011 graduating class at Revere, Parent is a double-major in elementary education and mathematics, a decision she doesn’t regret but that is causing her headaches during the week. So it’s no surprise that her best games this season have come on Saturdays, a day she tries to restrict herself from doing any homework or school-based activities. When she’s at ease on the soccer field, look out.
“If I just have an open mind, don’t worry about needing to score or anything else, I just play like I know how to play — with instinct — and that’s when I play the best,” she said.
Two Saturdays ago, in a must-win Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference game, Parent was stress-free. After the Rams conceded a goal in the 20th minute, relinquishing their 1-0 lead over Salem State, Parent scored perhaps her most important goal of the year.
And it came off a toe-ball — a laughable method in soccer but one that happens because of quick thinking and muscle instincts when it’s the only way to redirect the ball. “It was a cross from the outside and I just barely poked it in past the keeper,” said the 5-foot-3 striker. “I didn’t even know it was in until I looked up and saw people celebrating. We didn’t have a choice: If we wanted to make the playoffs we had to win that game. So it was at home, we were fired up before, and then we just got it going.”
Parent has had little trouble executing during conference games each weekend. Of her six goals on the season, four have come in three Saturday games, with her game-winner against Salem earning her MASCAC Player of the Week Honors. But her battle with her stress is something even coach Tucker Reynolds has kept a close eye on.
Sensing something was off with Parent before a Tuesday night game against Babson in September, Reynolds kept her out of the starting lineup for the first time all year, telling her that she plays her best when she’s mad.
After sitting out the first 20 minutes of the game, the right-footed Parent entered as a substitute and played exceptionally well, drilling a 20-yard shot into the top corner of the net with her left foot. “My blood was boiling,” she said. “I just wanted to get out there.”
And as Parent continues to improve on her management of stress, school, and soccer, there may be even more untapped potential.
Wakefield goalie shining for UNH
Wakefield native Carlie Tarbell made the save of her life last weekend and her University of New Hampshire 20th-ranked field hockey squad is rolling.
Tarbell, a sophomore who appeared in six games last year after a stellar four career at Rivers, is in her first season as the starting goalie and is making a splash, averaging 6.42 saves per game with a .726 percentage — both of which rank second in the America East Conference.
And the save she made on a waist-high shot from an Albany forward in early overtime wasn’t only big for her, but it gave the Wildcats a much-needed boost in the eventual 2-1 win.
“I’ve felt since we started that we know Carly can make saves,” said 22-year head coach Robin Balducci. “We don’t feel like we have to be careful and can’t give up too many shots. We’ve had teams play protective with other young goalies here but this team doesn’t feel that way at all.”
Tarbell was one of five UNH players to compete in the US High Performance program over the summer, and Balducci said she seemed ready for a breakout season from day one of fall camp.
“We’ve been competing with the top teams in the county,” Tarbell said. “And we keep getting better. It’s hard not to get really excited about it.”
Fund-raisers coming up
Allie Hawkes, a 2012 graduate of Methuen High and former swim team captain, has battled and beaten cancer multiple times, but she’s again been diagnosed with the disease. The Methuen swimming and diving team is hosting a fund-raiser on Hawkes’ behalf at Joe's Crab Shack on Wednesday, with up to 20 percent of all food and drink sales to be donated. . . .
The North Andover Athletic Association is hosting the annual Knights on the Run 5K Run/Walk along with the Knights in Training Kids Run on Oct. 20. Register at knightsrun5k.com.
Jason Mastrodonato can be reached at email@example.com.