Orange Lutheran senior Lexi Dennick began playing volleyball competitively as an eighth grader, and at 6’2”, it seems she was destined for the sport.
“I just kind of fell in love with volleyball as a whole,” says Dennick. “I like to say it’s the sport that breaks my heart but always puts it back together again. In the end, it makes me happy and I love it. And my teammates are everything. It’s a family on the court and off the court.”
During her sophomore year and prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dennick tore her ACL, and with recovery time and quarantine, she was sidelined for more than a year. When teams were allowed to return to practice last fall, the middle blocker gained a new appreciation for the opportunity to play.
“It’s coming to that realization that it could stop in the blink of an eye and trying not to find your identity in volleyball,” says Dennick. “It’s important to learn to be grateful for every time you step on the court, because it could be your last.”
The four-year varsity player and her teammates embraced that philosophy last spring during their two-week, four-match season. OLu made the most of what they were given, defeating Mater Dei and earning a share of the Trinity League title. Watching her fellow Lancers live out one of her favorite verses, John 13:7 (“You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”), remains Dennick’s favorite moment in the sport.
“I take so much pride in being a Lancer,” says the 16-year old. “It’s really awesome to wear that name and the cross on my jersey. It’s such a strong program…It’s not all about the winning. It’s about you as a person. It’s caring about you and your development, not only on the court, but off the court too.”
Dennick was named one of this year’s team captains, and her goal is to serve her teammates as a Christ-like leader and contribute to the development of a healthy program culture. The coaching staff relies on her high energy and encouragement, specifically for the younger players.
“I have been coaching Lexi since she was 15 years old – she was such a sponge back then and still is,” says OLu girls volleyball head coach, Henry Valiente. “She is a grounded human being who really plays inspired volleyball. She puts her all into everything, and it shows on and off the court. I am super proud of the little girl I met a couple years ago because now she is a woman with dignity and grace.”
Dennick also serves OLu as an Ignite Mentor, where she enjoys building relationships with her group of freshman Lancers. She hopes to play volleyball at the collegiate level and has plans to become a physical therapist, a passion she discovered while recovering from her knee injury. She leans on her faith to pave the way in volleyball, which in turn allows her to take the focus off of herself.
“I don’t think I’d be able to do this without God,” says Dennick. “I feel like I would have lost hope and lost ability a lot earlier on. Everything I’ve accomplished as a player, it’s not because of me. It’s because of him and the teammates, the ability and the height he’s provided me with.”
Dennick looks up to her mom, who is always at the ready with an encouraging word and a relevant Bible verse to share. She also draws inspiration from each of her teammates who have made her time as a Lancer a life-changing experience.
“All of my teammates,” says Dennick, “every single one of them, has a characteristic that I aspire to be like.”
Learn more about Alexis by watching her in "The Walk".