Cintretta Lewis has taught young athletes the sport of volleyball, and this year, she guided Liberty County to a third-place region finish and the first round of the playoffs.
“This is my first time coaching high-school volleyball,” she said. “I have coached volleyball at the recreation department for about three or four years, but that was 10-, 11- and 12-year-old age group.”
The former Bradwell Institute Class of 1989 graduate and basketball player went on to play basketball at Columbus State University after earning a scholarship.
She finished her career and degree and is in her fifth year teaching at Lyman Hall Elementary.
This season, the Lady Panther volleyball team had three seniors: Jordan Delaney, Alyssa Landry and Julianna Hensley. The remaining roster was four juniors, three sophomores and six freshmen.
Lewis said the team is a great group of girls who, despite being young, displayed a wealth of talent.
“And the juniors and seniors stepped up to the plate and helped me settle in,” she said.
The team went 4-11 overall and 1-2 in Region 3-AAAA.
That gave them a third-place region finish and a first-round playoff game at Heritage, near Atlanta.
Heritage took the match and advanced.
“I am looking forward to next year and stepping up to the plate more,” Lewis said. “As the new incoming coach, you encounter a lot of things that are unexpected and, of course, you fight through some of those little barriers. But other than that, things went well this season.”
She said she would like to see her current freshmen and sophomores step up more next year.
“For some of them, this was the first year of them playing volleyball in the high-school setting, but have played for the recreation department and have the fundamentals,” she explained. “We are going to work over the summer … with them. … Second priority is making sure our schedule is sound and up to par as to what needs to happen.”
The coach said the team spent a lot of time this season working on communication on the court. She added that as the season progressed, she saw a lot of growth from the players.
Lewis said the Lady Panthers served the ball well, but can improve.
“And that is a lot of what we are going to work on this summer,” she said, adding that she also would like her setters to step up and be team leaders on the floor.
She said they have the height when it comes to her group of spikers.
“Heightwise, we overpowered a lot of teams this year,” she said. “And I think once we get our spikers to where they are comfortable about when to spike the ball and make it happen, we will be 100 percent better. We talked a lot about reading the floor and learn when to spike … and to know where to spike it to.”