By: J. Daniel Pearson
For Positively Osceola
Stephanie Davis, a freshman soccer player at Jacksonville University and a former Tohopekaliga standout, has died.
Ms. Davis was traveling with teammates on Sunday afternoon when according to the Florida Highway Patrol the sport utility vehicle she was in was traveling eastbound on US-90 near I-10 in Baker County when it overcorrected after going onto the shoulder. When the vehicle reentered the road, it overcorrected again, spun counterclockwise and then rolled over. It came to rest on its passenger side.
Seven JU women’s soccer players between the ages of 18 and 21 were treated for minor injuries. Three were taken to local hospitals. They were wearing seatbelts, according to the FHP report. Davis was pronounced dead at Lake City Medical Center.
The players were returning to campus from a planned team outing when the accident occurred.
“We are extraordinarily saddened to share the news of the tragic passing of Stephanie Davis on Sunday evening,” said Jacksonville Senior Vice President and Athletic Director Alex Ricker-Gilbert. “Stephanie’s journey at JU had only just begun, but she will be dearly missed by her family, teammates, classmates and everyone else who had the pleasure of knowing her on campus. We extend our deepest condolences to Stephanie’s family, and ask that you keep them, and the team, in your thoughts and prayers.”
Ms. Davis, 18, played in 11 games for the Dolphins at forward and started twice. She played a career-high 90 minutes against South Carolina State for the 7-8-3 Dolphins.
A three-year letter-winner and two-year starter at Tohopekaliga, Davis finished her career with 21 goals scored and seven assists (49 points) as a midfielder. She scored 12 goals as a junior – one off the team lead – and had seven goals and four assists in her senior year, leading the Tigers to their first winning season in school history with a 9-6-3 record.
She was a two-time selection to the All-OBC team and was the first girls’ soccer player to earn a scholarship from the school’s young program that started during the 2018-19 school year.
“Hearing that news was devastating– a real punch in the gut,” Tohopekaliga Athletic Director Lonnie Flores said. “Stephanie was an incredible player and even better person. She was such a solid, team-oriented athlete that really helped build our program. She was a coach’s dream, one of those first to practice, last to leave type athletes who always put the team and her teammates before herself.”
Flores who was at Dr. Phillips High on Monday evening attending a district girls’ lacrosse game, said he would meet with the soccer team on Tuesday. “Our seniors and juniors played with Stephanie and I know they are all hurting right now. We will meet with them and offer all the support they need and at the same time send our prayers and condolences out to Stephanie’s family.”