The long game

Volleyball player and senior economics major Davis Lau talks about lessons learned on the court and finding the aloha spirit away from home

Davis Lau
 Davis Lau. Courtesy of UCI Athletics.

For Davis Lau, volleyball has been a family affair. Both his father and sister played at the collegiate level; his father for UCSB from 1977-82 and his older sister more recently for Dartmouth. While he was never pressured to follow in his family’s footsteps, Lau was seduced by their experiences as student athletes.

“My sister left for Dartmouth when I was about 10, so I was old enough to realize what I wanted my future to look like,” he says. And that future included Division I volleyball.

The highest level

As an economics major, Lau is good at envisioning the long game and he has the relentless work ethic to fulfill his goals. He accomplished his dream of playing D I volleyball when he was recruited by UCI volleyball coach David Kniffin as a freshman.

“I chose UCI because I wanted to play college volleyball at the highest possible level, while also getting an exceptional education. Plus, UCI is in a great location, it’s close to home, and the people are super nice. I couldn’t think of a better place to attend college,” he says.

Lau is currently wrapping up his fourth year as a libero (a defensive specialist), but Kniffin recognized Lau’s dedication early on. The first day he arrived on campus for an optional summer workout, Lau was told he couldn’t practice with the team until his paperwork was processed. Instead of going home, he walked from the weight room to the field to do his best version of the workout on his own. Kniffin was impressed.

“Maybe the biggest testament I could make is that if I could recruit Davis again, I would,” says Kniffin.

Best possible version

Lau is quick to attribute his academic and athletic success to his family who first inspired him to pursue volleyball.

“My dad, mom, and sister have all motivated me through their successes. They’ve encouraged me to be the best possible version of myself and to strive for the highest attainable goals,” he says.

Davis with his sister Julia and parents Alan and Carol Lau
 Davis with his sister Julia and parents Alan and Carol Lau.
I feel spoiled for coming here. I thought replicating the community culture of Hawaii would be hard to do, but UCI reminds me of home.

Lau will graduate this spring with a degree in economics and will attend the Master of Finance program at UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business next fall. This means he is also eligible to play a fifth year of D I volleyball for UCI. After that, he’s set his sights on playing professional volleyball in Europe once his Anteater days are over.

“I don’t think I can make a career out of volleyball, but it’s been a dream to reach the level I’m at,” he says.

Once his volleyball career is over, he hopes to work in commercial real estate in California before eventually settling down in Hawaii. Knowing Lau, he will achieve what he sets his mind to. Until then, he is relishing his time with a community he loves.

“I feel spoiled for coming here. I thought replicating the community culture of Hawaii would be hard to do, but UCI reminds me of home,” he says. 

 - Jill Kato for UCI Social Sciences



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