BRISTOL - As the sun shined on the St. Paul soccer field Wednesday afternoon, one of its brightest girls soccer stars in program history, Kendall Davis, announced her commitment to play collegiate soccer at Division II Belmont Abbey.
Joining her for the special moment were her two sisters (Addison and Reagan), parents (Jeff and Suzanne), grandmother (Janina Brocki) and aunt (Donna Brocki).
“I’m excited to share this with my family,” Kendall Davis said. “It means a lot to me and I’m excited to be able to play at the next level.”
Also in attendance were St. Paul athletic director David Dennehy and head coach Jim Husbands. Dennehy set up the event for Davis. Now in his 10th year as the athletic director, Dennehy has seen a handful of players come and go and Davis was another standout athlete he had the luxury of watching.
“I get out to enough of our games and I saw her come in as a freshman and right away be a talented player and contribute to the program,” Dennehy said. “But there’s no question with time and age she evolved and turned herself into a collegiate scholarship athlete.”
The Crusaders will be getting a fearless scorer when Davis steps foot on the Belmont Abbey campus in the fall.
Davis was St. Paul’s all-time leading scorer with 81 goals and the third All-State player for Husbands.
“The day that she broke the record was pretty awesome,” Suzanne Davis said. “One of the other coaches, Flavio Pereira, used to coach her when she was younger as well. He had a major impact when she was 11 and 12. And it was his daughter’s record that she broke and he wanted her to come off the field and shake his hand when she did break that record. He encouraged it. He obviously enjoyed his daughter having the record, but he wanted Kendall to even grow from there.”
Her four years were a major reason behind the Falcons becoming such a dominant program. St. Paul had its best season in program history this past year when it reached the Class S semifinals. Davis will once again be part of a successful program as Belmont Abbey finished last season with an 11-5-2 record.
“When you sit down and realize that she set the school record for most goals in a career and in a season, right there it indicates what kind of impact she’s had on this program,” Husbands said. “Soccer isn’t a game where you score a lot of goals, and she’s been able to do that for us and I don’t think we would be where we are now without the success she’s been able to have for us.”
For Davis, soccer has been a large part of her and her family’s life. Her grandfather, Adam Brocki, played professionally and shared a love and passion for the game with Davis.
Her dad, Jeff, coached Kendall growing up and both he and Suzanne have had a big part in her becoming the soccer player and person she is today.
“It’s definitely an exciting day,” Jeff Davis said. “It’s something she’s been working toward for many years now. She started playing when she was four years old and has gotten better every year. Hopefully that continues when she gets to college.”
The loss of Davis will without question be a big void to fill for Husbands, but the four years she spent at the school has propelled St. Paul into a more well-known school for girls soccer.
“She’ll be missed,” Husbands said. “I’m excited that she’ll be able to go play at the next level. I know it’s something that she wanted to do. I’m a little familiar with the Belmont Abbey program and I think she’ll fit in nicely down there. It’s a good level of competition for her. I think what she’s done and how she’s contributed to our program has a large part to do with us being able to continue our success in the future.”
While Davis is in Belmont, N.C., in the fall, her sister Addison will once again be a key player for St. Paul and Reagan will be joining her.
With all the success Davis has had, her younger sister Reagan smiled and said “I won’t be able to match [her scoring record].”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org