West Chester middle blocker Hailey Lewis has been a member of the volleyball team for the past four years. Now Hailey is a starter, captain and leader in her senior season, but this college journey did not come without its challenges.
Hailey Lewis has been playing volleyball since the fourth grade. She was a member of various clubs throughout her younger career and played in high school at Downingtown West. After graduating, Lewis would then take her talents to West Chester University.
Arriving on the scene as a freshman, Hailey admits that she received more playing time than she anticipated. In the 2019 season, Lewis appeared in 26 matches, starting in 10. She contributed 113 kills and 32 blocks in her first collegiate season. After having so much success in her freshman year, Hailey was primed to take a massive leap forward in 2020. Unfortunately, we all know this story too well, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the Golden Rams’ season. 2021 could have been considered somewhat of a disappointment for Lewis, as she appeared in only seven matches throughout her junior season.
Despite the lack of playing time, Hailey still kept a positive and mature mindset.
“Junior year may not have gone the way that I would’ve liked, but I still was there to support my teammates and friends who were on the court,” Lewis explained. Coming into senior year, I was going to focus on the things that I could control and that was my attitude… to be the best I could be on and off the court.”
This type of maturity and focus must have been recognized by Head Coach Kassie Bellaver, as Hailey was named captain of the 2022 volleyball team in her senior season.
The role of captain is always important, but for a team like West Chester, composed of 11 freshmen, Lewis’ leadership is even more essential. This is something that Hailey fully understands, and she uses her experience to guide some of these younger Rams.
“Since the majority of our team is young, I knew me and all of the other seniors were going to have to set a right example for them to follow,” said Lewis. “Being a senior and a captain comes with guiding and encouraging the younger girls as a leader. My goal as a leader of this team is to show my teammates that hard work does pay off.”
If her words were not enough, the season Hailey is putting together is evidence of this hard work. In her senior campaign. Lewis is currently third on the team in kills and second in blocks. In week four of the season, Lewis was named PSAC East Volleyball Athlete of the Week, after her career-high 19 kill outburst against Millersville.
While the Golden Rams are trying to secure a postseason berth for the second year in a row, Lewis outlined some goals she has for herself and her team. “Some of the goals I have for the rest of the season personally are first just to enjoy the moment because I do not have much time left in my volleyball career,” Lewis shared. “Another personal goal is to continue to work hard and give it my all in games and practices. A goal for my team is to make it into the PSAC playoffs and have fun with all of my friends.”
As the PSAC volleyball season kicks into high gear, it is refreshing to see that Hailey is able to take a step back and appreciate the moment. The stretch run of conference play is upon us, as the WCU Golden Rams are battling for a playoff spot. WCU had a terrific start to the year, starting 13–1, and 3–0 in conference play. However, the Golden Rams then dropped their next five matches, including four against PSAC opponents. In the midst of this losing streak, Lewis stressed the importance of keeping a good mindset when facing adversity.
Ultimately, I encouraged my team to stay positive and stay together as a team because eventually it will go in our favor,” Lewis said. “Thankfully, we just had a home game last night against Millersville and beat them 3-0 not dropping a set!”
This is the type of leadership that will be so crucial for the Golden Rams as they have their sights set on the postseason. WCU currently sits at .500 in conference play with a 4–4 record, tied with Shippensburg for the fourth and final seed in the East. Four PSAC matches remain on the schedule for West Chester in the regular season, and each one is significant for their playoff chances.
You will be able to catch Hailey Lewis and the rest of the Golden Rams at home on Tuesday Oct. 25, in a non-conference battle against Wilmington University.
Tommy Anderson is a third-year communication studies major with a minor in journalism.