Yoshimoto brothers lead City College men’s volleyball team


Juan Fonseca

Men’s Volleyball players Owen Yoshimoto (left) and Evan Yoshimoto pose on Friday, March 7, at Santa Barbara City College. The team is 6-4 on the season.

STEVEN SALAZAR, Channels Staff

City College men’s volleyball team was dealt a pair of Aces this season, a strong hand in the form of brothers Evan (No. 9) and Owen (No. 2) Yoshimoto.

If they are not indoors they’re at the oceanfront assisting their father Steve Yoshimoto, a director at the Ventura County Volleyball Club instructing volleyball skills.

“Our entire family is really big into the volleyball community,” Evan said. “Beach volleyball is like our number one thing.”

Only a year apart, the Yoshimoto brothers grew up with eyes locked on a tightly knit leather ball that rocketed back and forth across a net high enough for them to walk under.  Today the duo coach the youth who stand where they once did.

“I coach a team of 16-year-olds at the club,” said Owen, a freshman.

Owen’s older brother Evan works at Backyard Bowls on State Street and mentors a beach volleyball camp in the summer.

With a heavy work schedule on top of coaching, practicing and playing volleyball, the two keep their academics at the forefront.

“Since high school I’ve always had over a 3.8 GPA,” said Evan, an environmental studies major. “I went to the California Maritime Academy for a semester before I came here and volleyball wasn’t a part of my life there. I hated it.”

Competition between the brothers used to keep them apart when they would fight as children, but now it’s applied as fuel for their quest to become elite volleyball players.

“Most of the sports we played that didn’t involve height I did better than him at and once we both played volleyball together our competitiveness helped us to improve our game,” Owen said.

“Owen and Evan are both good kids who clearly have a love for volleyball. They both have competitive beach backgrounds,” said Matthew Jones, men’s volleyball head coach. Both are on the quiet side but have solid knowledge of the game.”

As they matured and played for Camarillo High School their bond firmed.

“We played indoor and beach volleyball together and at first it was hard but it kind of helped our relationship grow,” Evan said. “We are just super competitive all the time, which forces us to play better.”

The Vaqueros are mid-way through the season and will continue to utilizing the Yoshimoto powerhouse combination. The unification of Evan’s strength and Owen’s agility makes them a colossus couplet.

“They bring different skillsets as Owen is an outside hitter and Evan is an opposite hitter,” Jones said. “Evan does a nice job of blocking and being smart with his swings.  Owen has some good hitting angles and has really worked to improve his blocking and back-row defense.”

Owen says that communication will be a necessity for the rest of the season to be successful.

“Started off pretty solid and progressively we aren’t doing as well as we thought we’d do,” Owen said. “The games where our chemistry is high we tend to do a lot better, but sometimes if it’s not there we take some tough losses.”

As a sophomore, this will be Evan’s last season playing for the Vaqueros.  However, he plans to continue playing for the 19 and under USA Beach Volleyball National team.

“With Evan gone next year, we will lose an experienced starter on the right side who tends to limit hitting errors and keeps the ball in play,” Jones said.

They have played volleyball in several parts of the world from Mexico, Hawaii and Costa Rica to Canada.

The Yoshimoto brothers have similarities and differences as many siblings do, although one clash was clear. Evan wants to travel throughout Europe to enjoy what it has to offer, while Owen would like to spend his travels reclining in the Bahamas.