Laura Williams isn’t the type of person who settles.
The Lakewood girls’ volleyball senior captain could’ve been satisfied with being a three-rotation right side hitter, but instead she worked hard in private coaching sessions. Williams could’ve been satisfied with one scholarship offer, but instead she tried to contact as many college coaches as possible during the COVID shutdowns. She could’ve even been satisfied with starting for the Lancers who are now ranked No. 4 in CIF Southern Section Division 1, but instead she’s got dreams of winning a championship at Lakewood.
Williams said that her dad and assistant coach Lance Williams has been her primary source of motivation since he joined the Lakewood staff for this season.
“My dad pushes me a lot to be the best I can be and I just want to make him proud,” Williams said. “I also want to prove to myself that I’m good.”
Williams has proven she’s already better than good with some fantastic performances at Lakewood and a verbal commitment to continue her career at Oregon State.
“She’s a very good leader because she assumes responsibility and communicates really well,” Wadley said of Williams. “I think she can block with just about anybody. So we’ve got her going after big time blocks against the best hitters.”
Williams was born and raised in Lakewood where she participated in gymnastics, cheerleading, track, basketball and swimming before falling in love with volleyball.
“Volleyball was just more competitive than the other sports I was playing and I love to compete and win,” Williams said. “I’m a very bad loser.”
While simultaneously learning the rules and skills of volleyball, Williams worked her way onto the top team for her age group at the Long Beach Mizuno club. She also said her sister, Kalyah Williams, has been a huge inspiration. Kalyah played at Long Beach Poly before going to Washington State, and Williams wanted to follow in her footsteps.
However, Williams wasn’t able to get to Poly because of district limitations, and she got a late start at Lakewood because of that. In retrospect, she said she’s happy to have landed at Lakewood.
“The team is more family oriented,” Williams said. “It’s a great coaching staff and the girls are great. Even when I came in super late my freshman year the whole team was very welcoming.”
Williams has continued to take private lessons with almost all of the coaches at Mizuno, and said specifically her defensive work with former Long Beach State star Libby Fontanilla has helped her become a six-rotation player at Lakewood.
The film of her individual practice that she sent to college coaches during the COVID shutdowns actually helped her get more attention for possible scholarship offers because it showcased her work ethic.
“Coach Wadley has been a great help (especially with recruiting) and ever since I got to Lakewood he’s believed in my potential,” Williams said.
Williams added that her team is also feeling like they’ve got great potential and confidence after winning the prestigious Dave Mohs Tournament last weekend. She had 26 kills, 13 blocks, and 30 digs in six matches.
“It’s an eye opener that we’re a really good team this year,” Williams said. “We need to stay together and keep this energy we have. I always notice (the energy) and it’s something that helps us win.”
We caught up with Williams to talk about a little bit of everything this week…
Question: Why did you end up choosing to commit to Oregon State?
Answer: It’s a beautiful small town and I really wanted that for a campus. When I went on my official visit the team was super nice, and three of the incoming freshmen (I met at the camp) we’re already kind of best friends. We talk everyday and I just met them. We clicked instantly. I was just really scared that I wasn’t going to click with anyone.
Q: What’s it like playing against your club teammates when you play teams like Long Beach Poly?
A: We’re super aggressive because we joke about beating (each other) all of the time.
Q: What are your volleyball goals in life?
A: I want to play overseas after college. A lot of my sister’s friends have done it and they said it’s super fun to see new things and meet new people who don’t sound the same as you.
Q: What’s your favorite class in school?
A: Right now I’m taking a forensic science class and I’m into that kind of stuff and shows. I don’t want to be a detective but I find it fun.
Q: What do you want to study in college?
A: I’m going to major in Nursing. A lot of my aunts are nurses, and I’m a very helpful person. My parents have always told me that since I was younger, that I was always asking if they needed any help. Even when I was so young I don’t remember, but they said I did.
Q: Netflix or Hulu?
A: I watch Netflix. I’m watching Lucifer right now. I just finished Manifest and Grey’s Anatomy. That one took a really long time because it’s like 17 seasons but I love it.
Q: Drake or Kanye?
A: I don’t really listen to them but I’m hearing a lot of Drake stuff, only because of TicTok, so I’ll say Drake.
Q: Is TicTok your favorite social media app?
A: Yes. It’s just super funny and the dances are addicting. I’m on that at least 10 hours a day.
Q: Do you have any other hobbies other than sports?
A: I like to bake and I’m really good. I bake with my mom. That’s what I helped her with a lot.
Q: What are you best at in the kitchen?
A: Cheesecake. Make sure the cream cheese is room temperature. Don’t have it super cold, it has to be mushy.
Q: Do you watch cooking shows?
A: On Netflix there’s Ace of Cakes Collection, and there’s a funny one called Nailed It! for people who think they can bake but actually can’t. It’s super funny.
Q: If you had to sit in the middle seat on a long plane flight, who would you choose to sit next to?
A: My sister and my best friend Samarah Dacoud. I know how they are on flights. I couldn’t sit next to my mom because she has anxiety and she makes me nervous. My sister and Samara are super chill, and they’ll probably be asleep within the first 15 minutes so I’d probably go to sleep.
Q: Do you have a historical figure you look up to?
A: Not really. My mom is a great role model. She’s super positive and very encouraging.
Q: What’s your favorite book you’ve had to read in school?
A: We read To Kill A Mockingbird in ninth, tenth and eleventh grade. I got used to it after three years. That’s just what all the teachers wanted to do.
Q: Who is your favorite character in the book?
A: I don’t even remember, I’ve got to be honest.