December 7, 2019

VIDEO: Freshman Marissa Lewis stars for the Webster University women’s tennis team

Freshman Marissa Lewis left her hometown of Owasso, Okla., this past fall to begin classes at Webster University. It was the first time in Lewis’ life she was away from fraternal twin sister Mollie Lewis and the rest of her family.

“We figured it was going to be rough just because we’ve been together for 18 years,” Marissa Lewis said. “The longest we’d been away from each other was maybe five days.”

Marissa Lewis, a business management major, is one of the top players on a freshmen-heavy women’s tennis team at Webster. Six of the nine players on the squad’s roster are freshmen. This helped Marissa Lewis make friends quickly, but her transition from high school to college wasn’t particularly easy.

Webster University freshman Marissa Lewis strikes a backhand during a match. Lewis helped the Gorloks to a 7-1 record in the fall portion of their schedule. Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Wilder.

“I would say I was homesick,” Marissa Lewis said. “My sister sent me a text of my empty room saying, ‘It’s so quiet without you here.’ That definitely made it pretty hard. But just knowing this is a new chapter in my life — it was going to get better. And it has.”

A comfort zone on the courts

Marissa Lewis looked right at home on the tennis court as she helped the Gorloks to a 7-1 record during the fall portion of their schedule. Marissa Lewis compiled a 7-1 record in singles play and a 5-1 record in doubles action. The Gorloks have the winter months off and will begin their spring slate of matches on March 3, 2012.

It was Webster’s tennis program that lured Marissa Lewis out of Oklahoma and into St. Louis. Webster coach Michael Siener recruited Owasso High School’s star player, and Marissa Lewis is glad he did.

“I love it — it’s great. The coach is great; the team is great,” Marissa Lewis said. “We all get along really well. It’s nice because you always find someone who wants to either work out or go play tennis. The people on the team are here doing what they want to do. It’s not like they were forced to do it.”

Marissa Lewis said she isn’t burnt out from tennis in large part because she began playing the sport years later than many of her peers. She fell in love with the sport right away and has continued to play through college because tennis keeps her in shape and allows her to meet new friends and see new places.

A player not to be messed with

Freshman tennis player Mackenzie Wilder echoed several others’ opinions of Marissa Lewis on the tennis court — she is a force to be reckoned and is all business when it’s match time.

“If you make her angry, then she’s not the nicest person,” Wilder said. “I wouldn’t advise making her angry, just because that never turns out well for the other person ever.”

Wilder said Marissa Lewis plays an aggressive game when she’s playing singles, while she’ll play more conservatively in doubles action. Like Wilder, Mollie Lewis advises her sister’s opponents to not make her mad.

“She is in the zone — she doesn’t want anyone talking to her,” Mollie Lewis said. “I don’t like being around her whenever she’s playing tennis. She just likes being in her own little bubble where it’s just her and the person playing. Her opponent — you don’t want to make my sister mad, because she will tear you apart.”

Mollie (left) and Marissa Lewis are fraternal twins. Mollie is attending Berklee College of Music, while Marissa is at Webster University. Photo courtesy of Marissa Lewis.

Lewis said she gets frustrated if her opponent intentionally makes a bad call. Even though she’s intense on the court it, she’s a completely different person off it.

“She’s bubbly, very, very bubbly,” Wilder said. “She won’t judge you no matter what you tell her — whether it be good, bad, funny or dumb, she’ll take it and laugh or help you fix your problems. She’s energetic — can’t sit still at all — like not one bit, which is really funny because we’re best friends and I’m the opposite, so we get along great.”

The Lewis twins make tough transition to college

Because they’re apart for the first time, Marissa and Mollie Lewis — who attends Berklee College of Music in Boston — talk, text and Skype nearly every day. But even that isn’t always enough.

“Partway into my senior year of high school, this summer and my first year of college, I realized how lucky I was to have a sister like her,” Mollie Lewis said.

Although it isn’t always easy, Marissa Lewis said she has tried to turn not seeing her sister into a positive.

“We just figured we need to grow personally, and we’ll always have that connection,” Marissa Lewis said. “So whenever we get back together, it will just be a blast and back to old times.”

One of their connections is tennis, though Mollie Lewis elected not to play collegiately. One reason Mollie Lewis began playing because she wanted to get into shape. The other was because Marissa Lewis played and was getting more attention.

“I think it’s always been a competition between sisters,” Mollie Lewis said.

Marissa and Mollie Lewis played only one high-school match of doubles tennis. It was a match Marissa and Molly Lewis won and will never forget.

“I was like, ‘Oh, gosh, this is going to be quite interesting,’” Mollie Lewis said. “But we worked really well together. We would have times where we would just yell at each other, but I think it was more like our parents were watching. We wanted to act like we were fighting, just because they were expecting it.”

While Mollie Lewis works on her singing career, Marissa Lewis works on earning her degree and improving her tennis skills. Though the two are separated by hundreds of miles, Marissa Lewis knows what Mollie means to her.

She said, “(Mollie is the) best sister I could have.”

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