Karita Lewis is coming off a strong junior volleyball season at Gallaudet. The Frederick resident was a first-team selection to the North Eastern Athletic Conference squad in 2019 at outside hitter. She made second team last year, so Lewis is moving up in the world.
In fact, Lewis now is going to be using volleyball to head around the world a bit. She recently returned from a trip to Brasilia, Brazil, where Lewis played on the USA Deaf Women’s Volleyball teams that won gold at the 2019 Pan American Deaf Volleyball Regional Qualification from Nov. 26-30.
Lewis was the only current Gallaudet player on the team that won each set (15 overall) and match (five) and qualified for the World Deaf Volleyball Championships next July in Italy.
The U.S. beat Canada, Mexico and Brazil before topping Canada 25-15, 25-19, 25-15 in the title match in Brazil. Lewis played middle hitter and said she loved getting the competition on the international level.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Lewis said. “I wanted to make sure I was a good representation of the United States of America.”
Lewis said that playing with athletes of that ability was something she enjoyed, and it should help in the future — starting with the games in Italy.
“I did get a lot of playing time,” said Lewis, a Maryland School for the Deaf graduate. “It was nice to have that team experience … [I learned] from them. That was great.”
Lewis needs to work on some off-the-court issues first, such as raising the $3,300 needed for the trip. She’s started already and has gotten about 10 percent so far but is going to try different ways to come up with the money.
She’s looking forward to experiencing the joys of Italy off the court but learning more about the sport she loves on it. Lewis should benefit from the trip in a variety of ways.
“It’s going to help me because I am playing at a different level,” Lewis said. “I think it’s going to help with my leadership. I’m one of the youngest players.”
Her father, Robert Lewis, loved watching his daughter win numerous awards at MSD. He watched the live-streaming of the matches in Brazil and is hoping their whole family can go to Italy to see Karita play.
“This is special ... it’s very exciting,” Robert Lewis said.
This international competition could make Karita Lewis more of a force on the court next fall at Gallaudet. She was named the NEAC women’s volleyball player of the week on Sept. 30 and ranked among the conference leaders in a number of statistical categories this past season.
Lewis is majoring in art/media design and communication. Her focus is graphic design.
But after her spring classes, Lewis will have the chance to focus on playing international volleyball in Italy.
“I’m excited,” Lewis said. “I’m looking forward to it.”