Davis continues soccer career at RMU

By Audrey Gardner, Staff Writer

Ayana Davis found it difficult to leave Robert Morris University after graduating in 2012, but the women’s soccer forward was able to take the field for the Colonials for another season as a graduate student.

Because Davis ran track at RMU during her freshman campaign before switching to soccer, the native of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, still had one more season of NCAA eligibility.

“There was a big cross over from being a sprinter to being an effective athletic type of striker forward that was able to score goals, and go to the goal,” she said.

As a member of the track and field squad, Davis competed in the 55 and 60 meter hurdles, the long jump, and the triple jump. After her freshman year, Davis, who was not on an athletic scholarship, approached women’s soccer head coach John Kowalski about making the transition from the track team to the soccer squad.

“I went to him and talked about playing soccer,” said Davis. “I told him if I played, I would have to have a scholarship because RMU is expensive. He just came to see me play and offered me one.”

According to Kowalski, Davis’s skills acquired on the track carried over to the soccer field.

“Running track corrected her running techniques, getting a little bit stronger, a little bit faster,” he said. “To cross that over to soccer made her one of the faster and stronger forwards, with a strong shot.”

In her first season with the Colonials, Davis made an immediate impact with the club, leading the team in scoring the past three seasons. Davis netted 18 points in 2009, 15 the following season, and a career-high 25 last season.

“She’s an impact player,” added the thirteenth year head coach of the women’s program. “Ayana is always a marked player on the field. She’s the attacking threat that we have.”

Despite the fact that RMU has struggled this season, and Davis was slowed with an injury, the sports management major does not want to let her squad down.

“They [my teammates] are always looking to me, since I’ve been the leading scorer. They are looking for me to break out at some point this year.” She said. “It just needs to come soon. I feel like we would have much of a better season if I could just score like I use to.”

Although as of October 9, the Colonials own a 1-12-2 record and are situated in eighth place in the Northeast Conference, Davis believes that the team can still contend for the NEC title.

“We are looking to change the season around and we definitely have a chance to do that.” She explained. “The first half of our season obviously hasn’t been that good, but we’re in conference now and we just need to get into playoffs.”

While Davis’s days as a Colonial are numbered, her coach has high hopes that she will someday be able to continue her soccer career.

“There is a possibility for her to play at a higher level of soccer,” Kowalski added, “based on what she has accomplished at RMU.”