Newport Knights senior Justin Lau’s ability to succeed in one-on-one situations is evident on the lacrosse field and the gridiron.
Lau, who was a starting defensive back on the Knights football team that finished with a 10-3 overall record and advanced to the Class 4A semifinals, signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Mount Olive Trojans (North Carolina) Division-II lacrosse program in November. Lau said he was recruited by between five to seven schools, but the decision to commit to the University of Mount Olive was an easy one.
“It is a program on the rise. I’m pretty excited about it. There is a lot guys from Washington on the team so even though the school is far away it will feel like its close to home,” Lau said.
The Trojans 2015 incoming freshman recruiting class consists of five players from Washington. The UMO lacrosse program went 13-3 last season. Lau, who plays the position of face-off specialist, enjoys the thrill of going one-on-one against other players. He said playing defensive back for the Knights for the past two seasons has given him a mental edge when he steps on the lacrosse field.
“Ever since I started playing high school football I developed a fearless mentality on the lacrosse field,” Lau said. “Playing football against the best players in Washington and going head-to-head with them has helped me a lot.”
Lau said he has no aspirations to eventually play lacrosse professionally, but is looking forward to his senior season and the next four years of college on the lacrosse field.
“I’m not thinking about playing professionally or anything, I just want to do it for the love of the sport and just play as much as possible,” he said.
Lau’s lacrosse career almost never got off the ground. He didn’t try the sport until 2009 as a seventh grader after being prodded by one of his life-long friends.
“My really good friend, Hudson Taylor, who is from Maple Valley, and I played sports growing up all through elementary school and middle school. He was the person who first got me involved with lacrosse. Once I gave it a shot, I immediately fell in love with the sport,” he said.
Newport head football coach Drew Oliver said Lau’s can do attitude was evident on the gridiron this past fall.
“Justin was a pretty emotional player. It was great having him on the team. Obviously lacrosse is his passion, but he brought a good energy to our football team,” Oliver said. “We’re proud he is representing us (Newport) at the next level.”
Shaun Scott: 425-453-5045; firstname.lastname@example.org