McDERMOTT — Northwest senior Reagan Lewis, literally and figuratively, has set herself for the next level.
And, it’s right down the road from Roy Rogers Country along U.S. Route 23 —as she joins some past and present Mohawks for the future.
That’s because Lewis, the standout setter who recently racked up the milestone 2,000th assist of her career, has officially announced her intentions to play collegiate volleyball — at Shawnee State University and under second-year head coach Devan Scarberry.
Lewis’ signing ceremony, and that of fellow Mohawk teammate and defensive specialist Ava Jenkins, took place inside the Northwest High School gymnasium last Friday —as Lewis was flanked by her parents Nick and Elizabeth Lewis; Scarberry; Northwest High School Athletic Director Dave Frantz; and several teammates, family members and friends.
Lewis, whose mother Elizabeth is also the Northwest head coach, joins Jenkins and 2021 graduate and former Mohawk standout hitter Haidyn Wamsley with Scarberry’s Bears.
Scarberry, of course, is a 2011 Northwest graduate and former volleyball star —both for the Mohawks and Shawnee State, where she graduated from six years ago.
With Wamsley, Lewis led directly to her many Mohawk kills — as the assisting machine’s 2,000 mark was officially reached on Sept. 13 in a three-set sweep over visiting Clay.
In deciding upon committing to Shawnee State, Lewis — despite “not having a dream college but wanting to go to college” —liked simply the familiarity she had with Scarberry and the Bears, such as with Wamsley and Emily Boggs.
Boggs, a former Wheelersburg standout hitter, is Lewis’ cousin —as Scarberry also coached Lewis in Northwest middle school basketball.
She felt fit was a finer point.
“I know a lot of the players on the Shawnee team. I’ve played club (volleyball) with some of them. That’s really helped. To the point where I already feel like I am part of the team. There’s already a connection with them on the court, and you know how they play,” said Lewis. “And it’s close to home and that was also a big factor. My parents and all my friends will be able to come watch and support me.”
Lewis has been a setter all throughout junior high and high school, as the volleyball setter is equivalent to a football quarterback —with the front row and heavy hitters having to receive the assists.
It’s also leadership responsibility which Lewis has embraced as her career has progressed —and as her confidence increased.
“You have to be a leader as a setter, and me being a shy person, it took me a while to adjust to that role. But by midway through my senior year, I think I’ve adjusted really well. My freshman year, I struggled with confidence in myself. But now I know that my team has confidence in me, so I know they expect me to do well and I know I can do well,” she said. “I want to do well for them, because they all have my back.”
Already a two-time all-Southern Ohio Conference Division II honoree, Lewis made the Division III District 14 Coaches Association all-district unit as a sophomore Honorable Mention selection —before moving up to third team as a junior.
She has played volleyball at Northwest since the seventh grade, offseason club volleyball since the eighth, and will also be a four-year letterwinner in basketball, swimming and track and field for her decorated Mohawk career.
But volleyball, she said, is obviously her favorite sport —as Scarberry said she is building the Bears with local blocks.
With the upcoming graduation of current SSU setter Maria Kolinoff, and the expected departure of Maddie Payne, Scarberry looks for —and certainly hopes for —Lewis “to be ready to fulfill that role and run our offense.”
Lewis can also play all the way around, Scarberry said.
“I always like to find local athletes to be part of the program. We’ve seen an increase in community members, community support and fans at the games bringing that energy,” said the coach. “When you can find good local talent, it’s always a good thing. With Reagan, she sets for Northwest now, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be swinging some on the net for me. She has a really high vertical and a nice good snap.”
That actually accurately describes Wamsley, as Lewis said she is look forward to reuniting with her after a year away —and in another shade of blue.
In fact, it’s quite possible that Wamsley, Jenkins, Lewis and Boggs —along with Wheelersburg graduates Abbie Kallner, Kylee Barney and Alli McQuay — will all be on the same Bears’ squad in 2022.
“I’m really looking forward and excited about seeing these two (Lewis and Jenkins) in some baby blue,” said Scarberry.
So yes, Lewis has set herself up well for the next level —while continuing her strong senior season, and her final one with her mother as her mentor.
“Playing for my mom really helped me be more comfortable. I get that extra time at home after games to talk to her. We talk about how the game went and what I need to improve on and what I did well with,” she said. “It also helps me want to do better, because it is my mom coaching me and I want to make her proud.”
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved