Head coach John Dunning has announced the two freshmen that will join the women's volleyball program this fall, and help it contend for a Pac-12 championship and the team's seventh NCAA title. The class consists of Sarah Benjamin and Sidney Brown.
"I am very excited about adding Sarah and Sidney to our freshmen class," said Dunning. "They join Merete (Lutz) and Ivana (Vanjak), who both redshirted last year. This class will have a big impact on our program. Sarah and Sidney are both very experienced, skilled players with high volleyball IQ's."
Benjamin is a 5-8 defensive specialist from San Diego, where she was a four-year letter-winner at Francis Parker School. She was a part of a two-time league championship squad that also won Division IV Southern California regional championships and state championships in 2012 and 2013 (defeating Menlo School). A two-time first team All-Coastal League selection, Benjamin was the 2013 Libero of the Year in San Diego county. She also nabbed All-CIF San Diego Section first team honors and was named all-state by MaxPreps in 2013.
Benjamin, who is the younger sister of former Cardinal libero/defensive specialist Hannah Benjamin (2009-12), played for Coast Volleyball Club from 2009-13 and for Wave Volleyball Club in 2014. Her 16-Under team won the gold medal at the 2012 Junior National Open Championships, while her 17-Under squad won bronze in 2013.
Brown, who hails from Tampa, Fla., is a 6-0 outside hitter out of Berkeley Preparatory School. She was a five-year letter-winner in volleyball, and also earned two letters in softball. Her team won the 4A state championship in 2011, while finishing as the runners-up in 2012 and as semifinalists in 2013. A two-time all-state selection, Brown was named the 4A Florida Player of the Year in 2013, earning All-America accolades from Under Armour and MaxPreps. She is also a two-time Suncoast Region Player of the Year and a two-time Hillsborough County Player of the Year.
Brown, who was a high school and club teammate of current Cardinal All-American Jordan Burgess, played for the Tampa Bay Jrs. in 2012, Orlando Volleyball Club in 2013 and for Wave Volleyball Club in San Diego in 2014. She and Burgess captured the national championship in the 18 Open division with the Tampa Bay Jrs. in 2012.
In addition to the two newcomers, the 2014 Stanford squad will include seniors Morgan Boukather and Kyle Gilbert, juniors Inky Ajanaku, Madi Bugg, Burgess, Brittany Howard and Megan McGehee, sophomores Kelsey Humphreys and Grace Kennedy and redshirt freshmen Lutz and Vanjak.
At Menlo College:
Bailey Gamez, a local standout from Newark Memorial High, became the latest women's volleyball player to ink a letter of intent to play for the Lady Oaks coach Atlee Hubbard.
The 5-foot-10 outside hitter joins Menlo after starting for the Cougars the past three years. She also played softball as a catcher.
Gamez was a two-time team captain and named first team all-league her junior and senior seasons.
As a senior, Gamez racked up 32 aces, 28 blocks, 146 kills and 188 digs. Her success and leadership carried over to her club team where, in 2013, she served as a co-captain and received the squads 'Best Offensive Player Award' and 'Coach's Award.'
"I'm excited to have the chance to play college volleyball and look forward to my experience at Menlo," said Gamez.
Equally dedicated in the classroom, Gamez maintained a 3.5 GPA while remaining actively involved in numerous leadership and community activities and serving as the senior class Vice President.
"Bailey is a great local athlete who brings a high level of dedication and passion to the sport of volleyball and her academic efforts," said Hubbard.
Gamez joins a Lady Oaks team that has won back-to-back Cal Pac titles and has posted 17 or more wins in each of the last two seasons. Menlo has won conference titles seven times dating to 2004.