New Albany senior middle hitter Alexis Lete was a volleyball late bloomer who didn’t develop into a star until high school. She’s making up for lost time. Lete was a member of the Junior All-Stars during the summer, and she will play college volleyball at George Washington University.
What made you fall in love with volleyball?
Believe it or not, I wasn’t good at volleyball. I was actually a soccer player, but I was pushed to keep playing. So in seventh grade I dropped soccer and played club volleyball. I was still really bad, but the next year I tried out at KIVA, which is a high-level club. Even some of my own family doubted me, but I was like “Oh, yeah?” I had the tryout of my life, made the team, and that year we won the nationals and I scored the last point. Ever since, I’ve been hooked.
If you weren’t very good at a young age, what clicked and started so much improvement?
People saw a spark in me, I guess. I was a very easy-going individual, and they kept pushing me to do better. They held me to a higher standard, which helped me make it where I am today.
New Albany coach John Breeding compared your court sense to Larry Bird’s in basketball. How did you develop that?
It’s mental toughness. I think that’s my strongest asset. I’m not the biggest person out there. I’m a very short middle hitter for college, so I know I have to do something to put myself to the level of more physical players. I use my mental toughness to make my way up the ladder.
Many tall girls are self-conscious about their height, and some tweet about “#tallgirlproblems”. At 6-foot-2, does that bother you?
That’s not me. There are many tall girl problems. The hardest problem is finding a guy taller than you. Other than that, I absolutely love being tall. Pants don’t fit, but that’s OK. I can’t imagine not being as tall as I am. When I was younger I struggled with it, but now I appreciate it and I’ve learned to embrace it.
What made you choose George Washington?
I visited 11 different schools, but I love the coach (Amanda Ault). She’s incredibly passionate, and she loves her girls, which is one of the most important aspects. I really like coaches who love the players and the game, who care about the girls’ personal lives, too. That was something big.
The campus is four blocks from the White House. Do you plan on knocking on that door and offering advice?
That would be something. I’m sure I will be venturing around the city. The girls told me for Halloween they go trick-or-treating to the embassies and get candy from all over the world. That’s so cool. So there’s a lot to look forward to, going to that city.
What do you enjoy away from volleyball?
I like to make things. I enjoy sitting around and making crafts, and I love to bake and go to concerts. I don’t enjoy going to concerts of people that are well known, it’s people that I randomly hear about, with cheap concerts, where I can go and have a blast. Music festivals are my favorite.
How do you see yourself in 10 years?
I want to be a model, a spokesmodel or a talk show host. I enjoy talking to people and I love to make people laugh. I’m incredibly goofy. If you ever see me around, I’m probably making some funny face.
New Albany played in a tough conference and sectional for volleyball. What can your team achieve?
We can achieve anything if we set our minds to it. The tougher the competition, the better. It just makes us better in the long run. Playing easy teams, it’s awesome to get good points and look good, but the most fun we have is when we play competition that we take pride in beating. Knowing you beat them is much more valuable.
— Justin Sokeland
ALEXIS LETE UP CLOSE
School: New Albany
Family: parents Vicki and Zary; brother Luke (19)
Student/athlete: Alexis, who also swims for the Bulldogs, is a member of the National Honor Society and FCA. She plans to play volleyball at George Washington University and major in communications and business.
Coach John Breeding: Alexis is really motivated to do well. She really works hard and pushes the other players to be better. She’s got great court sense, like Larry Bird, and places the ball very well. She sees the defense, and that just comes naturally. Even when things aren’t going well, she’s still enthusiastic and pumped up. She’s a plus for us.