When Audrey Lewis decided to get serious about volleyball as a ninth-grader, she knew she had a ways to go.
“I was not good,” she said by telephone Tuesday as she moved into a dorm at Tennessee Tech University.
Lewis begins practice today after receiving a Division I full-ride scholarship for a sport that wasn’t really her focus until she got to high school.
“She was a gymnast,” said Caitie Greiner, who was the Hoosierland Volleyball Club team coach and who now is North’s head coach. “She was very inexperienced as a volleyball player, but she was one of the most athletic players I’ve seen.”
According to Greiner, Lewis had something else going for her. “She was determined,” Greiner said. “It was all dependent on how far she wanted to go. She had the ability.”
A 5-foot-10 outside hitter, Lewis averaged 3.32 kills per game and 3.11 digs for the Bull Dogs, who were 18-16 last season. She was first-team All-Conference Indiana.
“Getting a scholarship was kind of a surprise,” Lewis said. “I planned on going to Indiana University. But it’s hard to pass up a free college education.”
Tennessee Tech, Morehead State and Southern Illinois all got into the recruiting battle for Lewis.
She eventually picked Tennessee Tech, in Cookeville, about 70 miles each of Nashville.
“I loved the campus,” she said. “It felt like home. That was the most important thing to me.
“And I thought, ‘If I get hurt and I can’t play anymore, which school would I like the most?’”
She plans to major in accounting and finance.
“I also liked my teammates and the coaches,” she said.
“It was the whole package,” Kewis added.
Tennessee Tech went 5-25 last season and was 4-16 in the Ohio Valley Conference. “They were really young last year,” Lewis said.
The Golden Eagles, who last won the OVC in 2008, begin the season Aug. 24 in the UT-Chattanooga Invitational.
Lewis expects to be in the mix this season. Not bad for a player who didn’t think she was very good only four years ago.
“I finally figured it out,” she said.
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