Natalie Canulli has size and athletic ability unique to the libero position.
Penn State noticed.
Canulli, a 5-foot-8 junior who plays outside at Benet, this week committed to national power Penn State. Canulli is the third Benet volleyball player to declare her college plans, joining Brittany Pavich (Boston College) and Caroline Wolf (Wake Forest).
With her size and Benet's deep reservoir of defensive specialists, Canulli hits for Benet. But she is a libero for Sports Performance's 16 Elite team, the position she'll play in college.
"The way she moves on the court and her athleticism at the libero position is really unheard of," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "She could be an outside hitter on her club team with the way she jumps and touches."
Canulli was part of Benet's repeat Class 4A championship team last fall, and she'll be joining a blue blood in women's volleyball at Penn State.
The Nittany Lions in 2010 became the first women's volleyball program to win four straight national championships. Last year Penn State advanced to the national semifinals before losing to Oregon.
That excellence, coupled with Penn State's academics with the Smeal School of Business, pulled Canulli to State College.
"My dream is to win a national championship, and playing for Penn State affords me a unique opportunity to do so," Canulli said. "I understand the commitment and tradition of excellence and I'm excited at the opportunity to be a part of it."
"With Penn State signing her, they think she can be a stud," Baker said. "It's rare to see somebody with her attributes playing the libero position. When you watch her, you can tell she's got it."