Windermere Prep's Natalie Work has been a key fixture on the Lakers volleyball team since seventh grade.
A rising junior at Windermere Prep, Natalie Work has been a staple on the Lakers volleyball team since she was in the seventh grade, mainly playing at outside hitter. When she isn’t on the court, you can find her in the gym working out or planning school events as the vice president of SGA.
What first got you started playing volleyball?
I was actually a competitive cheerleader, believe it or not — which you wouldn’t expect from me with how tall I am — but I just kind of got tired of it, and I was like, “Might as well try a new sport.” I tried lacrosse and was like, “It’s too hot outside,” so then I tried volleyball. I started when I was 9, and I tried out for the 10s team and I made it at OVA (now known as Orlando Tampa Volleyball Academy).
When did you start playing for the team at Windermere Prep?
This will be my fifth year — I’ve been on varsity since seventh grade, so I’ve always kind of been the youngest one.
What’s been your favorite part about volleyball?
Honestly, just the teammates that I meet. I didn’t want to do a solo sport, because it’s rewarding if you win, but then it’s also a lot of pressure on yourself. I very much enjoy the team aspect of it — getting to know everyone.
What’s the most challenging aspect of playing your sport?
I would say, while I love teammates, it’s probably the most challenging thing too, because you have to deal with a lot of big personalities — I dealt with that on my club team and have dealt with adversity on the high-school team. Then just trying to figure out how everyone takes things — some people enjoy being yelled at, and some need to be coddled.
What’s your favorite thing about playing at outside hitter?
I mean, it’s got to be scoring points. It’s sometimes hard for passers, because they don’t get a lot of the credit. When the crowd watches — if the crowd knows nothing about volleyball — they’re going to look to the people scoring points. So I guess I enjoy that the most.
Have you always played at outside hitter?
When I was younger I started off as a setter, which I have pretty good hands, but I was on 10s so that doesn’t really count. I played middle for one or two seasons, and then this year — due to unforeseen circumstances on my club team — I’ve actually had to switch around and play all three.
What’s some of the best words of advice you’ve received about volleyball?
I would definitely say forget about your mistakes and play with heart, because no matter how good you are, if you don’t care enough to play with heart and you don’t get along with teammates, it’s not going to work. It’s a team sport — you can’t just do everything on your own.