By Malcolm Johnson, Special to dc.highschoolsports.net
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA) -- Many families have long lasting traditions that help unite them. For some, it's a trade or business. For others, it may be something as simple as going to church together on Christmas Eve.
For the Davy family, that tradition is the sport of lacrosse. Will Davy is a senior attackman at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia. He recently committed to the University of Pennsylvania, where he plans to enroll in the Wharton School of Business.
"Originally I thought I was going to North Carolina, that had been the plan my entire life," said Davy in a telephone interview. "But when the offer for Penn came up I couldn't turn it down. The chances of playing at an Ivy League school and Division I lacrosse are amazing opportunities that I felt I had to take advantage of."
So why would going to North Carolina have been a lifelong goal?
For starters, both Will's father and uncle played lacrosse at UNC and had openly expressed their hopes of Will doing the same. Rip Davy III, Will's father, died in 2008 of a heart attack in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina. Rip was a lacrosse legend in Philadelphia, where he is a member of the Pennsylvania chapter of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Will has fond memories of playing lacrosse with his father that he says he'll never forget.
"We would go into the backyard and I could never get past him as hard as I tried. Even when he was 52 and I was 14, I still stood no chance at getting by him because his stick skills were so strong," reminisced the younger Davy.
Rip was originally recruited to Chapel Hill as an attackman, but that's not the position at which was bestowed All-American honors.
"When my father got to UNC, he started at attack but the team's best defender broke his femur and my father started picking up defense," said Will Davy. "By his senior year he was one of the top defenseman in the country."
Will is also the grandson of Ralph Davy, a well-known name in Philadelphia lacrosse history. Ralph helped start the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association. There's also Brett Davy, Will's uncle, a fellow North Carolina lacrosse alumnus.
It would have made perfect sense for Will to choose the school that's so deeply rooted in his blood. But by going to UPenn, Davy gets the chance to cement his own legacy in a city where his family name is held in high regard.
There is no question that UPenn head coach Mike Murphy is not just inheriting an extremely talented lacrosse player, but also a young man who shines as a respected leader amongst his peers. Episcopal head coach Scott Conklin can speak first hand on the player he has coached the last three years.
"He's got good character and leadership. He as much as anyone in our program has initiated activities in the off-season to get kids out there shooting and playing which is really important," said Conklin about Davy off the field.
As for Will's play on the field, he's a lights out attackman who led the Maroon in both goals (41) and assists (27) in 2012. Coach Conklin feels Will can play a role his freshman year.
A tradition like this wouldn't be the easiest for most kids to live up to. At an age where it's easy to let pressure get to you, Will invites the pressure and enjoys the challenge.
"I've got high expectations and big shoes to fill. It's a challenge, but that's what I'm looking forward to."
(Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Watts)
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