SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) -- Life has a way of throwing curve balls, of taking you places you never expected to go.
"Coach Pilat recruited me and I came down here for my visit," senior goalie Ian Davies said. "I wanted to compete and play good lacrosse so that's why I decided to come here."
But sometimes what life throws at you, not even a goalie can see coming.
"It's a tough thing to go through," he said.
Ian Davies knows all about that. Cancer was the fast one that knocked Ian and his family off their feet in 2017, the year when lacrosse suddenly became more than just a game.
"I kinda had a much different season my junior year than from my sophomore year. I got a lot better I think and people asked me how that happened and I feel like a big part of it is I got something to play for," Davies said.
Cindi Davies was that something.
"From that moment on, he was one of the best goalie's in division three," head coach Bill Pilat said.
The ultimate lacrosse mom who always wanted to see her son succeed in the sport became the reason he did.
"He really put a lot of heart into his game thinking about his mom and that's really helped propel him to where he is now," Pilat said.
"If I let up a bad goal or something, I can hear her say 'Come on Ian!' I can still remember how she sounded and stuff or I can just feel her excitement sometimes during games," Davies said.
The game of lacrosse carries a lot more weight than it before.
"Losing a parent, losing a loved one. You know, that's bigger than any game. Bigger than any win, bigger than any loss. And that's what's really important. getting through those times is when we need sports, and we need friends and teammates to help us and that's what it taught me for sure," Pilat said.
"Even if something bad happens to you in your life, I think I've been a good example of people crowding around you to support you and help you. It's definitely made me into who I am in a way. It's become a part of me," Davies said.