CORVALLIS — Corvallis came into the 2020 volleyball season ready to make a statement and defend last year’s Class A state title, the Blue Devils' first since 2013.
That route wasn’t made easier, though, when junior middle blocker Madison Lewis, who was expected to be a key player this year, suffered a knee injury over the summer.
However last Thursday Lewis made her season debut on Homecoming against Frenchtown in a battle of two of the top teams in the Southwestern A.
There were some nerves to start but, ultimately, joy.
"It felt really good to come back because this was a really good first game to have back with all of the support here, and I was really excited to be with my friends again," Lewis said. "They supported me really well. They knew that I wanted to be out there so they were really supportive and they were really excited when I got back, too, and just helped me through it."
Lewis tore her bucket handle meniscus in June after a gradual tear became a full tear while she was dancing, she said. For her, it was the first injury she’d ever had.
But she stayed resilient and did everything she could to get back on the court as soon as possible, which was faster than anticipated.
"I guess her doctors and physical therapists had said that she advanced quicker than they expected so she was really working hard on getting back," Corvallis volleyball head coach Laurie Jones said. "She didn't like missing games. So that was good on her for just being determined that way, and just being a constant player out there for the team is good also.
"We didn't have a chance to set her a whole bunch this game, but when she did get a set, she was making plays so that's really all you could ask for for the first game back. Eventually, as she gets more loose, we'll work on getting more of those as kills."
"(I) just worked really hard and in practice I would watch and I would do what I could with my knee," Lewis added. "In physical therapy I would work super hard so I could come back earlier than they expected me to because I really wanted to play."
With Lewis back in the fold and expectations high, Corvallis now sits at 4-0 overall (2-0 in conference) and atop the Southwest A standings after sweeping Frenchtown last week.
Their title defense is just beginning, but the Blue Devils are back to full strength and ready to prove they are still the team to beat for the second year in a row.