UC Irvine adds multiple recruits with championship experience

Photo courtesy of NORCECA and the FIVB

Coach David Kniffin is once again replenishing the UC Irvine roster with several highly touted recruits.

The Anteaters recently announced that Garo Barsemian, Cole Gillis, Davis Lau, Akhil Tangutur and Aiden Wolf-Neilson have all committed to play for the team starting in 2020.

Barsemian, a 6-foot-6 opposite from La Cresenta, California, was a first-team all-area selection with his high school team. As a senior, he also helped his school advance to the second round of the sectionals in the state tournament.


Gillis, a 6-foot-5 outside attacker from San Jose, California, led his club team to gold medal at the 2019 USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships. With his high school team earlier this year, Gillis was selected to the AVCA High School All-American watch list and earned National High School Player of the Week honors.

Lau, a 5-foot-7 libero from Honolulu, was named an all-state honorable mention during his senior season as he helped his high school with the state championship. The two-sport athlete also finished in fourth place at the beach volleyball state tournament.

Tangutur, a 6-foot-4 outside attacker from Pacific Palisades, California, was the 2018 Los Angeles City of the Year and made the 2019 AVCA High School All-American watch list. In addition, Tangutur as a member of the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team that won the silver medal at the 2018 NORCECA U19 Continental Championship.

Wolf-Neilson, a 6-foot-8 middle attacker from Irvine, California, is transferring to his hometown school after playing last season at Orange Coast College. The middle attacker in that freshman season had a 1.20 blocks per game average and was a second-team all-conference selection.

UC Irvine finished last season at No. 6 in the national media poll and narrowly missed the final at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Among the starters returning from the Anteaters next season including All-American middle attacker Scott Stadick and All-Big West outside attacker Joel Schneidmiller.