Over the years, Franklin Zirkle has coached and come across many great players.
So when the Leesville Road boys lacrosse coach praises the play of Broughton’s Van Parker, it shows just how good the 6-1, 190-pound sophomore attacker is.
“He’s a heck of a player,” Zirkle said. “There’s no question about that. He’s a really well-coached, really well-skilled kid, and he creates a lot of matchup issues. I would not be surprised to see him not only be a conference player of the year, but the kind of guy who can go on to be an All-American the way he’s playing right now.”
That endorsement came right after Zirkle watched Parker turn in a 10-point performance in Broughton’s 15-7 win over the Pride on March 30.
Games like that one – which would have been a career-night for many players – have become commonplace for Parker. Just two days earlier he found the back of the net 10 times against Millbrook.
Twelve games into the season, Broughton remains unbeaten and much of that has to do with the fact that Parker is averaging 6.0 goals (67 total) and 1.6 assists (19) per game. He’s already amassed 86 points on the season, 14 more than did in 15 games as a freshman.
“My sophomore year is off to a good start, so far,” Parker said. “I’m scoring a lot, and I’m making a lot of good plays”
With former attacker Mitchel Snyder, the Caps’ leading scorer a year ago, now playing at High Point University, Parker knew the capacity of his role on offense would increase. Yet, he’s handled the added attention from opponents and pressure seamlessly.
Much of that has to do with Parker’s drive to better himself, Broughton coach Michael Raskevitz said.
“Van’s very modest about how much hard work he puts in,” Raskevitz said. “A lot of people look at what the end product is, and they take for granted that he goes to practice for two hours every single day. After that, he goes home and works for another 90 minutes. It’s not just what you see on the field … Sometimes I have to remind myself that he’s just 16 years old.’ ”
Regarding the specific reasons behind his success, Parker thinks it goes back to his ability to create scoring opportunities in several different ways.
“I create by dodging, finishing and making good passes,” he said.
When asked whether or not fellow coaches are jealous of him having the opportunity to coach Parker, Raskevitz chuckled.
“I did have a coach the other day mention something about that,” Raskevitz said. “He had a good performance against Millbrook.”