Her path to volleyball stardom includes appearances in softball and basketball first.
Firestone senior Sara Davis looks back on those experiences and smiles about her bright future in volleyball.
Davis, a 6-foot-1 middle blocker/middle hitter, is a legitimate college prospect after garnering All-City Series first-team honors the past two seasons and opening this season in impressive fashion.
“I have come a long way,” Davis said. “Starting freshman year I barely knew how to play volleyball. My coach led me down the path in volleyball and I started to click. I tried basketball and softball, but they were just not for me. I gave volleyball a chance and I get better each day. I have never stopped loving to play.”
Davis laughs when she reflects on her softball and basketball playing days.
“I played softball for nine years,” she said. “I had been playing softball since I was 4 years old and then in eighth grade I thought, ‘Why am I doing this? I feel like I am getting worse.’ I was also playing basketball and I was not doing very well at that either. I would get angry playing. I was tall and athletic, and I thought, ‘I have to be good in some sport.’ ”
Enter volleyball and Falcons coach Stacey Myers, who is in her 13th season.
“I think Sara’s greatest strength is she really knows how to terminate the ball when she is in the front row,” Myers said. “She leads the team in kill average and block average, and she also knows how to lead the team in getting pumped up.
“She is probably stronger offensively right now, but she is getting better at playing in the back row. She has been playing well and has brought her dig average up in the past year. She has been pretty solid with her blocking since her sophomore year.”
As a sophomore and junior, Davis totaled 501 kills, 127 digs, 127 service aces and 84 solo blocks. She has 55 kills, 39 digs, nine service aces and seven solo blocks in four matches this season.
Davis played varsity as a freshman reserve and has started since her sophomore year, contributing to Firestone teams that have battled Ellet for City Series championships. The Falcons and Orangemen have each won outright playoff titles, shared percentage titles and placed as runners-up during this time span.
“Sara is a student-athlete who carries a 3.1 cumulative grade-point average,” Myers said. “She is very goal oriented. We set weekly goals and we talk about how to get to them. ... She is very focused. She is not content with anything, whether it is on the court or off the court. She is always looking for ways to improve.
“She is a really grounded and focused kid, and is always doing her best at what she does. That is one thing I like about her. She is a motivator. She leads by example.”
Myers said Davis has become more diverse with her attacks, and colleges have taken notice.
“I am getting interest in Division I, II and III,” Davis said. “Kent State and Hiram are a couple of schools. I really want to go to Kent State, and they have shown interest in me, too. I love the campus and love the coaches. I love everything about their program.”
Davis started playing volleyball in seventh and eighth grades, but recreationally. She has gotten more serious about the sport in high school, and also plays on the Ohio Xtreme club volleyball team and is a volunteer coach at an Akron YMCA.
“I love working with my teammates,” Davis said. “The team-oriented thing is the best part about volleyball. It is great to know that your teammates have your back.
“I decided to dedicate myself to one sport. This is what I really love to do. ... I feel comfortable doing anything on that court. I love to hit, and I also like to be in the back row. That is where I am weaker, but I have gotten a lot better with my digging and passing.”
Davis said her parents, Kathy and David Davis, have supported her transition to volleyball and also guided her academically.
Davis takes honors and advanced placement courses at Firestone, and said she wants to go into the science field in college.
“I really like learning how people live and how people have evolved,” Davis said. “My cumulative GPA is 3.1, but I am determined to get that up higher. My goal is to get a 4.0 each semester this year. Last year I should not have slacked off. I did OK, but this year I want to get better grades.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.