Dream Fulfilled: Davenport signs pro volleyball contract in Sweden

After a stellar career at Sandy Creek, Allie Davenport left her mark on the record books at the University of Tennessee- Chattanooga (above) before heading to the University of East London to pursue her master’s and continue playing. Davenport is now set to go pro with the Lunds VK Volleyball Club in Sweden. (Special Photo)

Allie Davenport felt a nervous rush as she stared at her phone. As the morning sun crept through her window, she couldn’t shake the earth-shattering sound of a simple email notification.

Forty-eight hours earlier, she was faced with an uncertain future. After talking with the Lunds VK Volleyball Club coaching staff over Skype, she was concerned that her dream of playing professional volleyball wouldn’t happen.

“I wasn’t sure they were going to offer it to me,” Davenport said. “I figured they would have done it when I was on the Skype call.”

Davenport kept playing the Skype conversation back in her mind. She had discussed the potential contract down to the smallest details.

She wanted to play in a safe city. She wanted to play in front of rabid fans. She also wanted financial security and to play around the world like her University of East London coach Jefferson Williams.

Lunds VK provided all those amenities and more. It was located near the southern region of Sweden and was filled with a loving community. The lingering thought of playing in the city left Davenport excited. She wanted to play for Lunds VK. The only problem was that Lunds VK had to want her.

After a couple of minutes, Davenport took a deep breath. As she swiped the email icon, her eyes perused the fine print of the incoming message.

Moments later, she felt calming euphoria throughout her entire body. A wide smile stretched for miles across her face. Lunds VK had offered her a spot as a six-rotation outside hitter on the team.

It was official. Allie Davenport, a former Sandy Creek High School standout, was going to be a professional volleyball player.

“Playing professional volleyball is something I have dreamed about since I first started playing at 10 years old,” Davenport said. “It’s super exciting that the dream is being realized.”

After comprehending what just happened, Davenport sent a firestorm of text messages to her parents back in Tyrone. Despite being on a five-hour time difference, she had to share the good news with them.

“I remember just texting that they offered me and pleading with them to wake up,” Davenport said. “Once they got it, everyone was super excited and happy.”

It had been a long journey for Davenport. She began playing after watching her older sister Katie dominate top competition. She remembers always attending games and reveling in the athletic environment. Davenport loved the sights, sounds and emotions of the game, and it drove her to play.

Like any younger sibling, she was inspired be like her older sister.

“Her work ethic just kind of rubbed off on me,” Davenport said. “I saw her working so hard, and it all paid off for her. It helped to mold her into a person I looked up to and wanted to be.”

Davenport hit the ground running. She got in the gym with a jump coach and worked on improving her raw talents. She also worked with her parents to get the techniques of the game down.

This led her to joining the A5 Volleyball Club in Alpharetta. According to her mother, Peggy Davenport, Allie would always be excited to shape her volleyball craft, even if it meant confining study time to the backseat of a car.

“I remember driving a car load of girls to Alpharetta to practice four or five times a week,” Peggy said. “They were in the backseat writing essays, studying vocabulary words, and doing homework.”

The immense travel schedule also took its toll on the weekend. The family was always on the road at tournaments and events.

“We would be in random cities over the country at 5 a.m. playing volleyball on the weekends,” Peggy said. “All the emotions and training trips made it worth it. Watching her achieve this dream has been amazing for the whole family.”

Davenport celebrates with her Sandy Creek teammates after winning the 2012 state championship. (Staff Photo by Christopher Dunn)

As Allie entered high school, she took her game to the next level. She took over the six-rotation outside hitter role and flourished against top competition. In her senior season, she became the Class AAAA Georgia Player of the Year and led the Patriots to back-to-back state titles.

“She is a great all-around person and a great student,” Paul Collins, her head coach at Sandy Creek and now the coach at East Coweta, said. “She is a tremendous young lady.”

Collins had a first-hand look at Davenport’s career. He was her coach her through middle and high school and helped guide her since the fourth grade. When asked to describe her talents, all he could say was that she was awesome.

“I have used her as an example to all my players,” Collins said. “I have told players about her work ethic and things you can achieve through hard work.”

After developing under Collins, Davenport earned a scholarship to play at University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. She continued to set records and earned All-SoCon First Team honors. She finished ranked fifth in school history in total attacks (3,553), eighth in total kills, (1,065), and 11th in kills per set (2.74).

Davenport later pursue a master’s degree in media, communications, and global development from the University of East London in England. While there, she also played volleyball for UEL and the Mallory Eagles Club in the National Volleyball League.

The Mallory Eagles went undefeated and were division champs. Davenport also helped guide them defensively. The Eagles dropped just three sets all season.
“It seemed like a really good fit and the coaches were awesome,” Davenport said of her time with UEL and the Mallory Eagles.

Now, Davenport is spending time getting ready to star on the biggest stage. To prepare, she has spent her time practicing and coaching. The goal was to give back to those who supported her the most.

“This sport has given me so much and I want to spread the knowledge I have,” Davenport said. “I am doing some coaching because it is something that I love. It is nice to give back to other people.”

In September, she will step onto the court as a professional athlete. She can’t wait for the moment, as it will the beginning of a future she dreamed of as a child.

“I am going to be so wrapped up in the moment, that I think it will be surreal,” Davenport said. “I will be super excited and overwhelmed with joy.”

Before the game starts, she promises to turn to the television camera and wave to her parents, family, and friends. It will be her way of saying “I love you.”

A thousand miles away, her support system will be doing the same.

“She always stated that this is something she wanted to do,” Peggy said. “It is a dream of hers and she worked with her coaches to help make it happen. It is so exciting to see your child have a dream come true.”

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