Whether or not Alana Barry is the best high school field hockey goalie of all-time depends upon one's point of view. For her part, the Vorhees (N.J.) Eastern Camden County High keeper isn't sure herself.
When you look at the statistics, however, Barry has a pretty strong case. On Tuesday, she became the first field hockey goalie in American history to record 68 career shutouts, an achievement she locked up during a 10-0 Eastern victory against Cherokee (N.J.) High.
"I'm surprised by this," Barry told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I never thought it would happen.
"My defenders today were Madison Jung, Erin Hoag, Gianna Perrone and Stephanie Byrn, and they have been a huge part of this record-breaking thing and I couldn't have done it without them, or the players before."
Indeed, Jung, Hoag, Perrone and Byrn had a lot to do with Barry's success on Tuesday, as the senior keeper went the entire game without facing an official shot. Still, that hardly dims the accomplishments the senior keeper has reached across a four-year career in which she finally eclipsed the 67 shutouts turned in by then San Diego (Calif.) Scripps Ranch High keeper Haley Exner in 2003.
Fittingly, Exner worked with Barry at a Futures Olympic program during the spring of 2011 and, according to the Inquirer, saw some striking similarities with herself.
"We have the same stature a little, and her style is explosive with great footwork," Exner told the Inquirer. "She is a very athletic goalkeeper, has size, and communicates well. She has presence on the field."
Barry also has a knack for making the most of a good situation. Eastern is the 300-pound gorilla of New Jersey field hockey, capturing each state title since 1999, when Danyle Hellig took over as the school's head coach.
As such, critics might claim Barry's biggest accomplishment was simply earning a starting spot in goal as a freshman for such an accomplished program. Hellig, for one, indicated that what she has achieved goes beyond that.
"I'm excited for her, the team and the program," Heilig told the Inquirer. "It's an amazing achievement for Alana, and it's well deserved. She has worked hard for that. She has been consistently good for us in the cage over the last four years."
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