A to Z with Allison Benton

St. Francis senior Allison Benton helped lead the Wolves to a Class 3A state finals appearance last season as an outside hitter.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, September 6, 2013 at 8:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 9:01 p.m.

SCHOOL: St. Francis

YEAR: Senior

POSITION: Outside hitter


HEIGHT: 5-foot-9

Area volleyball player I would pay to watch play: Jac'cara Walker of P.K. Yonge. She hits the ball really well. She plays for my club team (Gainesville Juniors) so I get to watch her a lot. Just her energy, you can really tell she loves the game.

Biggest match you are looking forward to play this season is .... The First Academy because that was who we lost to at state in the finals last year. If we could beat them it would sort of be revenge I guess.

Coach Nick Cheronis' best words of advice for me: “Play for something bigger than yourself.”

Defeating Tallahassee Maclay in three sets in the regional finals on the road last year was ... Not surprising because I knew we could do it. It was a big adrenaline rush. It just felt really good to be able to go to their gym. The second we walked in we knew they thought they were just going to roll over us. After warmups and we got some points and won the first game, and then when it was over, we were all shocked.

Easiest class or part of the school day: Probably lunch I guess. I have journalism, which is basically working on the yearbook. That's a fun class.

Feeling I have after a kill for a big point during a match: Definitely gets me pumped. I usually always look to Farah (Rajaee) and tell her 'great set.' Usually if I get a good kill it is off a good set or a good pass.

Gainesville area high school volleyball is... Competitive rivals, everyone is out to beat everyone else.

Has playing for a state championship changed our team in any way? We are still focusing on districts and 10-22. We write that on our wrists, and that always reminds us in the game we see that is what we are playing for. We are not looking at it this year that we are just going to automaticlly make it to the state finals. Even though we did last year, we still have to work hard. (Oct. 22) is the date that the district tournament starts.

Interesting thing about me away from volleyball: This year our team is coming up with a dance that we have been practicing at different people's houses.

Joker on the team: Audrey McNamara. She is always cracking jokes. She really knows how to make people laugh.

Kill, block or service ace to win a match? A kill. I really like it if Ann Lorrayne (Bzoch) gets a great dig, then Farah with a nice set out to me for the kill. The three of us have played together in club for seven or eight years. I also love it when Farah gets a setter dunk. Those are big momentum killers.

Least favorite St. Francis volleyball moment: Last year's loss at state. Probably because we were up really big the first set. Then after they (The First Academy) just kind of took over. They obviously had more experience and had been there four or five times before. We had made it so far.

My favorite St. Francis volleyball moment: Beating (Ocala) Vanguard last year because that was their only loss of the season. And they went on to win the state title (Class 6A). To be able to say we were the team to beat them (at The Gator Town Classic) was pretty cool.

Nickname: A lot of the girls last year called me Allie, and then the fans started calling me 'The Secret Weapon' last year. Last year was the first year I got to play for St. Francis, so I guess a lot of people didn't know me, so I was sort like the school's secret weapon.

One person in my life who inspires me most: My parents, they are always there to support me, always at every single game. They are always there to root me on. They are my biggest supporters.

Playing P.K. Yonge next Wednesday in our gym will be ... A really good game. We are looking forward to it.

Quiet time activity: Listening to music

Responsibility of being one of the team's 10 seniors and one of its top players is ... To keep the team focused on the main goals of the season.

Superstition I have: I have a lot of them. I have lucky socks and a pregame ritual of different things I need to do.

Twitter or Facebook, I like to use ... Twitter.

Universities or colleges considering: I have committed to Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C. Committed in May and am hoping to sign in November.

Vacation spot I love: The mountains in North Carolina.

What will it take to top what the team did last year? Focus, hard work. Coach Nick has said we have to practice hard. That there is someone out there that is practicing just as hard or harder right now than we are.

Xbox, PlayStation or Wii? I have a Wii. I guess I play when I have a chance. I really use it more for Netflix.

Year I was born: 1996

Zoo animal I like most: The monkey because he is entertaining.

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