Volleyball standout helps team lock second place in conference

Harry Sheldon

If you’ve ever been to a volleyball game this year at City College you probably have seen Kyle Benskin before.

He’s the guy in the middle of the huddle riling up his teammates. He’s the first on the floor, instructing the team through warm-ups and stretches. At 6’5” he stands tall in his size 17 shoes and has a leaders presence on the court, but it wasn’t easy getting there.

This isn’t Benskin’s first season playing at City College; in fact, it’s his last. The twenty-three year old Goleta native first enrolled at City College in 2005. It wasn’t until 2006 however that he started playing on the team.

He withdrew from City College after that year due to personal woes.

“I hit rock bottom”, said Benskin. “I really needed to step away and find myself.”

It took a few years for Benskin to do just that. However, the urge to play never escaped him. It was with the announcement of the head volleyball coach job going to Armen Zakarian that he would gain his chance.

Zakarian, a City College and UCSB alumni, played volleyball for the Vaqueros a year prior to when Benskin began. Through the sport and friends Kyle and Armen already were acquainted.

“I wanted to return to volleyball,” Benskin said. “I’ve always had a passion for the game and couldn’t stay away from it.”

Benskin became an offensive force from the middle blocker position after three years passed and he returned to the saddle for the Vaqueros. He has been a major part of the success that the team has experienced this season while being a top-three team leader in kills.

Kyle Benskin is more then a teammate; he’s a team leader. Always picking guys up, making sure everyone knows what is going on and making sure every one is concentrated on what must be achieved.

“He just has an ability to motivate others,” freshman opposite hitter Justin Carroll said.

Libero Juan Reyes commented on Benskin’s “positiveness” and “great intensity” that he brings to the game.

Benskin proves to be a leader on the court in averaging upwards of 10 kills a match.

What he has that enables him to take the role of leader is what coach Zakarian simply states as “experience.”

“The kids that grow from tough experiences and that are able to overcome those are the ones that are able to become leaders. Kyle is that case in point,” Zakarian said.

The Vaqs men’s volleyball team wrapped up the regular season with a overall record of 9-8 and a 6-4 record in the Western State Conference, sealing them the second place slot in the WSC.

“When we execute our game plan we can match up with anyone,” coach Zakarian said.