Committed to Defense

Senior wins “Defensive Player of the Year” in her last year of Hebron.


Photo by Aparnna Manoj

Senior Annie Benbow anticipates for the ball at the 2017 Volleyball Championships. Hebron was ranked first in state after winning the championships.

The crowd sits in silence; the tension fills the room. The opposing team takes its time to serve, making Hebron and the crowd anxious for the ball. The ball inches closer and closer to the floor, but an arm stretches out, pushing the ball up and over to the opponent’s side, allowing Hebron another chance at winning the game.

Senior Annie Benbow was named “Defensive Player of the Year” by the Dallas Morning News on Nov. 30 after playing as libero for three years.

“[Volleyball] definitely affected my life in an amazing way,” Annie said. “I have met so many new people, even in different states. I play club [as well], so I have met many people through that who I am still close to, seven or eight years later. Volleyball has led me to my best friends. It has taught me how to work hard, manage school and to prioritize and organize my life.

The Lady Hawks won the 2017 Volleyball State Championship, their third state title in a row. Annie said those moments of victory at every game were her favorite.

“Here at Hebron, having so much success, it makes it really [frustrating] when you lose, because people are out to [make us lose],” Annie said. “It’s like there’s a target on our back. Winning state back to back [to back] is definitely [going to be] one of my favorite memories.”

Annie’s father, Wink Benbow, said, her volleyball skills have been apparent since she was young, and still continues to impress anyone who watches her play.

“I’ve been impressed since the time she was little,” Benbow said. “I wanted her to have fun and learn the skills and life lessons you get from athletics. She never quits, she’s very quick and fast on the court.”

With the stress of school, as well as playing club volleyball outside of school, Annie still manages to keep an easy-going personality.  

“At the beginning, I could say that [the pressure] would get the best of me,” Annie said. “During my sophomore year, I [couldn’t handle it], because, you play at such a high level here and you play a lot of good teams. But over the years, I have grown to deal with it and I have learned to accept the fact that teams are just going to come at me and I have to handle it.”

Annie committed to the volleyball program of the University of San Diego on Nov. 8.

“[Initially], I wanted to go to Texas A&M,” Annie said. “My dad played football there, so that was kind of my dream school for a while. As I went through the college application process, I knew I had wanted to be in a competitive program, and [the University of] San Diego was a perfect fit. They are ranked 18th in the nation, and the main coach is an Olympian, which I think is really cool. I love the coaches and it’s a really beautiful school.”

Annie visited the university in the spring with her family. Her mother, Melanie Benbow, said they were thrilled about the visit.

“The coaches couldn’t have been better,” Melanie said. “We’re happy this is where she wanted to be.”

As her senior year comes to an end, Annie said she is looking forward to moving to California and staying there for the next four years.

“[Leaving Texas and entering California] hasn’t really hit me yet,” Annie said. “I’m sure I’m going to be really homesick. I’m going to miss my family and friends a lot but I’m excited to play volleyball at my dream school and all the memories I’m going to make out there.”