In her first three years with Providence High soccer, Ellie Deaver earned all-conference and all-region honors in each season; in her junior year alone, she was SoMeck 8 conference, Region 9 player of the year and all-state.
Deaver, 18, who plays for the Charlotte Soccer Academy U18 squad, has already signed to play college soccer with Charlotte 49ers.
Going into the March 4 East Mecklenburg game, the Providence center midfielder was on a record-breaking goal-scoring pace with 67 goals in her career, leaving Deaver just seven short of the school-record of 74.
Deaver scored 18 goals in both her freshman and sophomore years before setting a single-season school record with 30 goals last season. She has notched one goal so far this season.
While Deaver admits she wants to break the record, her focus is on helping her team win.
“I still feel weird when some people come up to see and ask my about setting the school-record for goals,” Deaver said. “I’m the type of person who doesn’t really want to be in spotlight. I just try go out and make plays and get in right positions to make things happen for my team and help us win games.”
Like it or not, Deaver has been somewhat in the spotlight since the day she walked onto campus because of her last name.
Her oldest brother, Braxton, 22, starred for the Providence football and lacrosse teams before going on to play football at Duke.
Her older brother, Cole, 20, starred on the Providence lacrosse team and now plays club lacrosse at N.C. State.
Deaver’s older sister, Kaitlin, 23, played soccer at Weddington and is a 2013 graduate of East Carolina University.
“I definitely learned a lot growing up playing sports with my older brothers and sister, and I am a very competitive person because of that,” said Deaver, whose father, Jay, played offensive guard for the Wake Forest football team from 1985-88. “When I got to Providence I was always ‘Braxton’s sister,’ or ‘Little Deaver,’ and I didn’t always like that. So I have enjoyed making a name for myself at Providence.”
Braxton Deaver has been a constant source of motivation for his little sister. The All-Atlantic Coast Conference tight end has overcome anterior cruciate ligament tears in both knees, as well as a fractured thumb and a broken kneecap during his Duke career.
“Braxton made me tougher growing up, because I would fight to try to beat him at anything I could,” Ellie Deaver said. “He still pushes me by sending me a text or calling me. Just seeing all that he has been through at Duke in inspiring, too. He could have easily given up when he tore his ACL last summer. But he didn’t give up. Right now, he’s still aspiring to make it to the NFL.”
The youngest Deaver hopes to finish her Providence soccer career in style.
Deaver not only wants to break the record for goals in a career, but she believes an experienced Providence team that finished 21-2-1 and made it to the 4A state quarterfinals has a chance go further.
“I believe that we have an opportunity to win a state championship this season,” Deaver said “Almost everyone is back, and everyone here has gotten better. We have so many girls who are capable of scoring a lot of goals. And we have a great defense. We don’t have a weak area on our team.”
The Providence girls’ soccer team is adjusting to a new coach in Nathan Williams, who took over for Timothy Long.
The Providence team opened the season with a 2-1 win over defending 4A state champion Hough.
“It really hasn’t hit me that this is my last year in high school yet,” Deaver said. “We really want a chance to win a state championship, and we are going to do everything we can to get there.”
Along the way, she hopes to etch her name atop the Providence scoring record books. She even jokes with Providence boys’ soccer standout Matthew Nozedar, who set the Panthers’ boys’ school record for career goals with 62.
“I told Matt I was going to break his record, and then I figured out there was boys’ record and a girls’ record,” said Deaver. “Either way, I want to have the most goals.”
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.