Girls Volleyball: Inquisitive approach takes Olentangy Orange's London Davis to new heights
London Davis is never satisfied in her quest to improve.
The senior outside hitter for the Olentangy Orange girls volleyball team is the first player in program history to surpass 1,000 career kills, but that’s not enough. Davis also has moved from the front and is spending time patrolling the back row in an effort to be a more well-rounded player when she goes to college next fall.
“(Orange) coach (Katie) Duy gives me lots of opportunities to grow in every aspect of my game,” said Davis, a 5-foot-11 Kansas recruit. “I mean, a 14-year-old me would have never thought I would be playing back row, but coach has given me the opportunity to play in the back row and grow as a player.”
Davis had 1,041 career kills before Orange played an OCC-Central Division matchup against Liberty on Oct. 15. For the season, she had a team-high 218 kills to go with 22 blocks and 71 digs.
Duy said Davis’ thirst for knowledge sets her apart from the rest.
“I think from the time she came in as a freshman, London has always wanted to get better every opportunity that she had,” said Duy, whose team was 16-3 overall and completed an undefeated title run through the league at 10-0 with a 25-15, 25-15, 25-11 win over Liberty. "Whether that is in practice or matches, she continually asks questions and educates herself.
“You don’t always see that with someone with the amount of talent and athletic ability that she has. That’s something you can’t teach or coach. That is something that makes her stand out and continue to be successful.”
A starter from her first day with the program, Davis was first-team all-state, district co-Player of the Year and first-team all-OCC-Buckeye last season after having a team-high 315 kills and 37 blocks.
“It was nerve-racking to compete with the other seniors and juniors when I was a freshman,” Davis said. “I had to make sure I was playing on their level. The program does a good job of making sure everyone feels welcome and good on the court.
“One of the things that makes Orange volleyball so special is how we connect on the court and how we grow together over the years. Everyone wants the best for everybody, and everyone knows what it takes to get there. We have so many different girls coming from so many different clubs and different backgrounds, and we all come together. The competitive family atmosphere makes it special.”
How does a player total more than 1,000 kills in her prep career? Confidence.
“You have to go out thinking that no one can stop you, and no one can dig you,” Davis said. “You just have to power through.
“I need to work hard every practice and work hard on the skills that I’m not up to par with. I have been focusing a lot on changing my mindset. I’m trying to play at that (college) level now so when I get there I will be more comfortable.”
Even though Davis has so many individual accolades, she still is a team-first player.
“Each year London has come in and asked, ‘what can I do to get better’ or ‘what can I do to help the team?’ ” Duy said. “She always has been the picture of a player who wants to outwork everyone else and do whatever she can to help this team and this program. That has always been her No. 1 priority.”
The Pioneers, who won their second consecutive league title and fifth in six seasons, are the top seed in the Division I district tournament.
Orange has a first-round bye and plays Thursday, Oct. 22, at home against 38th-seeded Groveport. The winner advances to a district semifinal Oct. 29.
The program has won four consecutive district titles but has yet to reach the state tournament. The Pioneers have lost in regional finals the past two seasons, including to eventual state champion DeSales 27-25, 25-16, 26-28, 25-22 last fall.
“I think after last year making it to the regional final for a second year in a row, I think we had all of the motivation and enthusiasm and that has carried over to this year,” said Davis, who has a 3.949 GPA and wants to major in biology. “Everyone’s mindset has changed. We know we can do it and everyone is on the same page. That has helped throughout the season.”