Name: Nikki Parsley
College freshman
Position: Forward/midfield for the Northwestern University Wildcats field hockey team

For years, Nikki Parsley was the biggest weapon the Milford High School field hockey team had. She’s the all-time leading scorer for the Lady Bucs, a star on regional and national travel teams and a three-sport athlete; she was one of the first divers on the MHS swimming team and played shortstop for the 2009 state champion softball squad. This year was her freshman year at Northwestern University, and she stayed true to form as on offensive leader for the Wildcats field hockey team, starting every game and finishing with the second-most goals for the Cats behind Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Chelsea Armstrong. She had the team’s only goal in a season-ending 3-1 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship tournament, and made the all-tournament team.

Q How did you like your first NCAA season?
A It was absolutely amazing. I don’t think I could have picked a better fit. I really love it here. I did high-performance this past spring, and played with the national Under-19 team, and I think that really set me up for success. The high point was when we beat Ohio State, who were ranked sixth. That was great.

Q Has it been tough to give up your other sports?
A Not at all. It’s just field hockey from here on out, and I love it. I’ve been waiting for quite a long time to just focus on field hockey after I committed to Northwestern in my junior year. It’s nice to get the opportunity to just do what I really love all the time.

Q What’s it been like fitting into a new team?
A We gelled pretty quickly, and I’ve learned so much from them. Chelsea Armstrong is amazing. She’s the third-leading scorer in the country this year, and I learned a lot from her. (Head Coach) Tracy Fuchs is known as the greatest player ever, and it’s my dream to play for coach with that much expertise and knowledge.

Q How do you feel about the way your season ended?
A Well, we just missed making the national tournament. We never broke into the top 20, and that was frustrating, but you have to close out games to be in that top 20, and we didn’t do that late in the season. We started out really well, but around the middle of the season we lost in overtime to Michigan and then had a close loss against Michigan State. They were both top-10 ranked teams, and we just barely lost to them. I think that’s where we lost our edge a little bit. After that we kept letting games slip away from us.

Q What are your plans for the rest of the year?
A I’m going to Georgia to play with the national Under-19 team in March, and then to Chile in April. And I’ll be playing the spring season here. Until 2011, it’s just classes and training.