Aurora Davis, sophomore mid-blocker on the Erie Community College volleyball team, has had great success both academically and athletically after coming to the United States from Italy in January of 2020. Her most recent, noteworthy accomplishment was being awarded the title of Region III Division III Player of the Year.
Davis grew up in Treviso, a city in northeastern Italy that is about 40 minutes outside of Venice. She started her volleyball career at the age of 9, playing for her town’s club team, and she said she quickly fell in love with the sport. However, Davis explained that there are multiple differences to volleyball in Italy, compared to volleyball within the United States. For starters, “There’s no such thing as playing in school or college. There are actually only club teams,” she said. That being said, there is no age limit for the club teams, so there are opportunities for people to continue playing the sport for however long they desire.
“People [in Italy] play until whenever. There are moms on the club teams, and everyone can play until they feel like it, which is really great,” she said.
Davis said that as she improved as an athlete and as she displayed a great passion for the sport, her club coach allowed her to play with both her age-group club team and the higher-level club team. “While I was there, I got lucky because the coach was great and he saw lots of potential in me, so he allowed me to play with two different teams at the same time,” said Davis.
Even though Davis spent most of her childhood in Italy, she had visited Buffalo numerous times because her father’s family is located here. In fact, she spent her junior year of high school at Cleveland Hill in Cheektowaga, before returning to Italy for her senior year.
While she was living in Italy, her brother was attending Daemen College, and he recommended that she consider going to college within the Buffalo community. “He was playing basketball, so he just suggested why not try coming to college here. We experienced life in Italy for so long, and we thought why not try here too, since we have the chance,” Davis said.
Davis decided to enroll at ECC because she said it was an affordable option that fulfilled her academic needs. Likewise, since she wasn’t sure exactly what career path she wanted to pursue, so ECC offered general options that would be more useful to her in the future.
“I thought I should start from ECC because it’s inexpensive, and it’s just a great place to start,” she said. She said her time at ECC, so far, has been very enjoyable, and she is thankful that she was given the opportunity to join the volleyball team, which helped her bond with new people.
“My year and a half now at ECC has been great. I’ve been happy. I’ve been meeting a lot of people, thankfully through volleyball because otherwise, it would have been really hard, since classes aren’t in person,” said Davis.
Since Davis was not affiliated with a high school team, she personally reached out to the ECC volleyball coach, in hopes of earning a spot on the team. “I emailed Coach Craig and sent him a video with compilations of when I was playing in Italy because he wouldn’t have known about my existence otherwise. I didn’t get to be recruited like everybody else, but he emailed me back, and that’s where it all started,” said Davis.
She said her experience with the team has been incredible, and she was very proud of their performance during this season, especially considering the changes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. “The team did great, we had some major accomplishments. We won the Region III Championship in women’s volleyball, which was really exciting because it was the first time ECC had won since 1982,” Davis said.
Davis also had a very successful season, which included notable awards like Region III Player of the Year and ECC Most Valuable Player. “It was really exciting for me. I wasn’t expecting it at all, just because there are so many great players on my team,” she said.
Davis said she is looking forward to her last year as an ECC Kat, and she hopes to keep achieving more accomplishments with her teammates. “I’m excited to keep having fun and to just achieve more goals like we did this year. A good goal would be winning another Region III championship; this time, with a longer, normal season and more teams,” said Davis.
Davis will be competing in her final season on the Erie Community College volleyball team in the fall of 2021, and she said she is excited for what the future holds.