A Freshman with a Contagious Passion for Volleyball

Hannah Benes thrives on the varsity volleyball team even if there is a huge amount of pressure.


Hannah Benes serves for the Sequoits.

The varsity title is something that each athlete looks forward to having in their years of playing a sport. A majority of the varsity athletes at this school are the upperclassmen, the ones who may have more experience playing at a higher and more challenging level. However, there are times when a team welcomes an especially talented young person to the team. As one can imagine, it can be difficult for a younger athlete to play up to a higher level with older people.

Freshman Hannah Benes has been playing volleyball for eight years, seven of those years were also spent playing club volleyball. At first, volleyball was just something to do over the summer, however, once she fell in love with the sport it became her passion. Now, Benes plays for the varsity volleyball team where she not only meets higher expectations but also constantly exceeds them.

“She brings a fresh perspective to the team,” varsity volleyball coach Greg Bruns said. “[She] hasn’t been on varsity before and she just wants to be part of the team.”

Benes was quickly welcomed to the team. With the help of her teammates and coaches, she found it easier to adapt to the fast-paced, higher challenging game.

“We all loved Hannah from the minute we met her,” teammate Katie Vilardi said. “She fits in really well and her skill set matches ours.”

With such a welcoming environment, it was easier for Benes to adapt and feel comfortable with the team.

“I really appreciated that they didn’t take it easy on me,” Benes said. “They don’t try to make digs and passes easy for me just because I’m younger than them; they hit and serve at me like they would anyone else on the team.  They don’t treat me like a little freshman, they treat me like a varsity athlete.”

Even though playing to a higher level can be difficult for younger girls, Benes knew she was put on the team for a reason. From there, she continued to work as hard as any other girl. She has proved she is right for her position as she starts games and plays more often.

Benes plays as a libero and a defensive specialist. She has certain skills that become especially useful for the team while they compete.

“Hannah’s passing is amazing and her digs are really helpful to the rest of the team,” Vilardi said.

Benes also knows that she must not take her skill for granted and improves each and every day.

“It is so much fun playing with older girls,” Benes said. “It makes me work so much harder to keep up with them. I love being challenged so having to play with and against older high school athletes forces me to elevate my game and improve my skill.

In the time that Benes has been playing on varsity, she has developed both as an athlete and as a person.

“She is hard-working, respectful to other players and coaches, determined to become a better player and she is a student of the game,” Bruns said.

As an athlete, Benes holds many great qualities that help her team as well as her own everyday life.

“She always keeps positive and her passion for the game is contagious,” Vilardi said. “The way she is so into every point is awesome to see in a freshman. She is a huge part of our success this year.”

As a freshman, the pressure can get to be a lot for some athletes, however, Benes uses it as fuel to improve on her game. Even as the youngest girl on her team, she strives to not only play to her own expectations but to benefit the whole team.

With such a great love for the sport and having a positive attitude, there is no doubt Benes will bring great things to the varsity team throughout her years at Antioch Community High School . Coach Bruns even sees her potentially playing outside of high school if she continues to put in the work and develop as an athlete.