(Damien Davis Guarding Mikey Powell in the 2002 NCAA title game|Photo: NCAA)
*This article is part of a month long series, Black Lacrosse Stories, that highlights Black players and coaches who have made an impact on our game, but may be lesser known to many younger players today.*
From 1992-2004, the Princeton Tigers won six NCAA titles, was the runner up twice, and made 10 Final Four appearances. Much of that success that Princeton enjoyed can be credited to Bill Tierney’s “Princeton Defense.” And one of the best players to ever play in Tierney’s system as a Tiger was none other than Damien Davis.
A native of Baltimore, Md. and Gilman School product, Davis arrived at Princeton in the fall of 1999 where he began one of the best careers of any defenseman in the history of college lacrosse. Davis started all four years at Princeton and played in the national title game in every single season except for his seniors year in 2003.
During his freshman season in 2000, Davis named All-Ivy Honorable Mention and helped lead the Tigers back to the national title game after missing out the year prior. They would loose to Syracuse 13-7. Davis’ sophomore season in 2001 is where he really started to gain some more recognition, being named a Second-Team All-American and All-Ivy Selection, and where the most memorable moment of his career happened.
That 2001 season ended with Princeton taking down Syracuse, 10-9, in overtime to win the Tiger’s sixth title in 10 seasons and avenge the previous year title loss and a regular season loss against the Orange. That title game produced what you could consider round one of one the best one-on-one matchups in history: Davis vs Mikey Powell. Powell beat Davis to score the goal that sent it to overtime and Davis stripped Powell to kick start the game-winning play for Princeton in overtime.
Davis helped lead Princeton back to the national title game in 2002, where they again ran into Mikey Powell and the Syracuse Orange and lost, 13-12, in another instant classic. Davis was named a Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-Ivy.
Team-wise, Davis’ senior year in 2003 was the worst season of his career. The Tigers ran into Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament, again. But this time it was in the quarterfinals and the Orange rolled the Tigers, 15-5. However, Davis was named a First-Team All-American and All-Ivy.
Following his career at Princeton, Davis had a pretty lengthy career as a pro player in the MLL and the NLL.