Bennett moves toward top of national beach volleyball rankings

Senior Natalie Bennett is a key member of the Lady Friar volleyball team, but has also moved up the national beach volleyball rankings. Bennett is commited to play beach volleyball at Houston Baptist University.
Senior Natalie Bennett is a key member of the Lady Friar volleyball team, but has also moved up the national beach volleyball rankings. Bennett is commited to play beach volleyball at Houston Baptist University.

The success of the Bishop Lynch volleyball program comes as no surprise when you consider what the girls accomplish on courts outside of BL.

Senior Natalie Bennett is one of those who not only shines for the Lady Friars indoors, but has carved out a name for herself playing outdoors as well.

Natalie, a three-year varsity member, is currently ranked No. 5 nationally in the Under-18 USAV Beach High Performance Division. The USAV High Performance program is the most prestigious junior and collegiate beach volleyball program in the country and is recognized as one of the premier international pipeline development programs in the world.

"I was given a wild-card invite to the A1 Championships," Natalie said of her summer tryout process. "A1 is the highest level for a player under the age of 19."

Based on her performance at the A1 Championships, Natalie will get an invite to National Team Selection Camp to compete for a spot on the Worlds team.

Natalie suffered an injury in one of Bishop Lynch's preseason scrimmages and missed the first 13 matches of the season. Since making her way back to the court, she's been a big part of the Lady Friar defense with 121 digs (third on the team).

In a couple of weeks, she will sign her national letter of intent to play beach volleyball at Houston Baptist University, just a few days before hopefully winning a second state title with the Lady Friars.

"I really like Coach Cameron (Sitler)," Natalie said. "He's very straightforward and to the point. He says what he means and sticks by his word. I really respect that."

Natalie said her decision to go to HBU came down to the school size and close-knit feel on campus.

"I like the small campus so it won't be an overwhelming change," she said. "The class sizes are small and the professors know their students personally. It's a very close environment."