Kansas volleyball’s London Davis has lived her volleyball life by one philosophy, one word, really.
“Always power,” the hard-swinging junior from Galena, Ohio recently told R1S1 Sports.
Ever since she was a freshman — and long before that, really — the 6-foot Davis has gotten her money’s worth with every swing near the net, aiming each time to contact the ball as hard as possible to make life miserable for the six players on the other side of the net.
“I’ve always been told I have a hard arm and (to) swing hard not fast,” Davis said of her philosophy as a hitter. “So, I just swing away and hope I can get something off the block or get it to the ground.”
She’s not too picky about where she puts the ball either, as long as she hits it hard. She credits KU setter Camryn Turner with almost always putting her in position to pick and choose the types of shots she can hit and says her main objective is to get it to the ground.
“My favorite, or the one that’s easiest for me, is trying to find the seams in the block,” Davis said. “Cam makes it really easy to try and hit different shots and stuff, and I aim to hit deep corners and just move the ball around as much as I can.”
Allowing her body to get to that point is a process that unfolds throughout the week every week of the season.
Before the game, it’s a priority to get her right shoulder warm and loose.
After each match, it’s a totally different approach, with Davis wrapping the shoulder in ice for 20 minutes or so before starting the whole process again. She said the cumulative effect of the season is what leads to soreness, but believes her weekly routine helps keep that at bay.
“Our trainers are really good,” she said. “They stretch me out and we get some massages going and we keep it going through the week.”
Davis’ favorite kill of her career — to date, anyway — came during last season’s five-set home thriller against eventual national champion Texas.
During the Jayhawks’ fast start that led to a two-set lead, Davis ripped a kill that she still lights up about when she discusses it.
“It was last year, Texas, first set, last fall,” she began. “It was down the line and everyone was so hyped because it was a sold-out crowd and we were winning. All the Texas games are always so fun, but that point will definitely stick with me forever.”
That particular kill was one of those hit-it-so-sweet-you-barely-even-feel-it moments for Davis, like a perfect driver off the first tee or a field goal kicker who knows his 50-yarder is good the minute he hits it.
In both of those instances, and for Davis and other power hitters like her, there’s often a sound that accompanies the perfect contact.
“I feel like it’s like a really good high-five,” Davis said of that perfect sound between hand and volleyball high above the net. “If you make perfect contact on the hand, that’s how you know. It’s great. You hear it off the hand, you hear it on the ground and it just gets everyone going.”
Davis has done that plenty of times in her KU career. She topped 100 kills in each of her first two seasons — 118 as a freshman and 109 a season ago — and started the 2023 season on pace to shatter those career marks by recording 61 kills in her first seven matches.
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