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Tori Davis doesn’t have to get riled up emotionally in order to play her best volleyball. Her mellow, calm outward appearance juxtaposes with the aggressiveness that comes with being a middle blocker.
“Any kind of sport I go into, I see it as a mental growth period for me,” she said. “I like the aspect of just like being very competitive as well as just being able to learn from people who are better than me and learn from my coaches.”
A future on the Baylor University team and over 100 blocks so far this season prove that her approach to the game can be successful. And yet, there may still be untapped talent within the 6-foot-2 West Ranch senior.
Coach Jamey Ker’s mantra for Davis this season has been “affect your teammates.” He’s encouraged her to find ways to tap into her emotions not necessarily to serve herself, but to serve others.
In a rare occurrence, Davis raised her hand during the postgame talk after a loss. In her graceful, yet powerful, voice she explained her frustrations and said she was going to change her own actions and the way she interacts with her teammates.
“I’ve never seen a more positive reaction from people when a teammate was essentially saying hey, I’d like to hold you more accountable,” Ker said. “We had a really great practice the next day. And I think we’ve competed harder.”
Davis played club volleyball growing up, but the varsity team at West Ranch is her first prep volleyball experience. She was homeschooled most of her life because her mom, Annett, was competing as a professional beach volleyball player.
Annett won the AVP tournament eight times alongside Jenny Johnson Jordan. She competed at the Olympic level and also won silver at the 1999 Beach Volleyball World Championships. She’s currently the head volleyball coach at The Master’s University in Newhall.
“I used to go to the beach with her all the time because I was homeschooled,” Davis said. “So, I’d be able to go and just like, do my homework at the beach while she’s playing and be able to watch her.”
Davis said she loved watching her mom play, even if it was for hours, but she never thought she’d have a volleyball career of her own. She was more interested in track and field.
Tori Davis (11) is a standout girls volleyball player at West Ranch High School. (Photo courtesy of Arimotophoto)
Her mom didn’t push her to play volleyball. Rather, she let her daughter try different activities for herself, which may explain Davis’ current workload. She’s on the sales and merchandising commission for ASB and is president of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising club. She also has a hair-braiding business and a nail business and likes to bake.
Even when it came to college, she wasn’t pushed towards UCLA, the school both her mom and dad attended.
“Besides the fact that she played volleyball, I had watched her and she like made me go to these camps, I don’t think she influenced me wanting to play volleyball in college, or even in high school as much as many may think,” Davis said.
Behaviors from Davis’ involvement in track surface in her volleyball abilities. She started taking volleyball seriously later than most players, which caused a delay in understanding the game and her position thoroughly, but it hasn’t hampered her physically. She has a touch of 10-8 when she jumps.
“Her playing style is just fast and powerful,” Ker said. “She has really fast twitch fiber. Her ability to move laterally really quickly and get off the ground fast is something that not a lot of people have. And it’s what I think made her such a high-value recruit.”
Track and field is one of those periods of mental growth that Davis has used to her advantage. College volleyball and her countless other endeavors — those are just more opportunities to keep growing in ways beyond her 10-8 touch.