Terry Sanford lacrosse coach Jennifer White said Bulldog junior standout Mattie Davis has been playing the sport since she was born.
Recently, the University of Jacksonville recruit reached a milestone in her young career with the Bulldogs, scoring her 100th career goal.
According to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association record book, she’s one of less than 10 players in North Carolina high school lacrosse to reach that number.
Davis comes by it naturally. Her dad is Wes Davis, who is Terry Sanford’s assistant coach and who helped start lacrosse at the recreation level in Cumberland County.
White said Davis, a midfielder, does a little bit of everything for the Bulldog team. She plays offense and defense and takes the draw to start each possession.
“She has incredible stick skills,’’ White said. “She catches the ball well and keeps the ball on her stick well. Her shooting is amazing. She knows how to throw fakes and when to throw them.
“She sees the field very well. She’s got incredible defense skills. She’s like a ground ball machine.’’ White said it’s rare for a junior to already be at the 100-goal mark for a career. “In 2 1/2 seasons she’s got that number,’’ White said. “She’s got a whole year and a half to grow that number.’’
Although she’s being singled out for her individual accomplishments, Davis said she loves lacrosse because it’s a team sport. “There’s no way you can play lacrosse individually,’’ she said. “You have to rely on your teammates, and it brings people together. I like it because every team I play on feels like family. It’s also a really fast sport, so it’s always going.’’
Aside from game skills, Davis likes to think she’s got good people skills as well. “I think I’m a good leader, on and off the field,’’ she said. “I love to encourage people. I don’t like to see anyone get down on themselves. I feel like I’m really good at picking people up.’’
Her love of team and family are big reasons why she chose to commit to Jacksonville. “I love the coaches down there and the environment,’’ she said. “They revolve everything around family, which I’m big on. They are like a top 30 team in the nation. All of those things feed into it.’’
Davis has obviously had a lot to do with Terry Sanford’s success this season. As of April 3, the Bulldogs are 6-4 overall. They play April 12. The regular season ends Monday, April 15, at Jack Britt.
The Bulldogs are in contention to make the state 3-A lacrosse playoffs again. As of April 3, they are ranked No. 14 among 3-A teams in the state, according to MaxPreps.
White said it’s a continuing struggle to grow the lacrosse program at Terry Sanford. “We have some travel teams around here, but Raleigh has them everywhere and year-round,’’ White said. “They’ve had a program for 12 years, and we’re on our fourth year. It’s easier for them to be part of a travel team.’’
Davis said it’s a matter of commitment. “It’s a she said. “Running around with a stick is not the easiest thing in the world. People need to become more interested in it, willing to try and (be) committed to it.’’
Photo: Mattie Davis