“I mean it’s kind of a weird thing,” Kyle Ensing explained.
“When I broke both my wrists my freshman year of high school and my brother, Eric, pushed me to try out volleyball, I honestly never thought that I would like it.”
After winning the 2018 NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship against UCLA over the weekend, it’s safe to say that the Valencia grad and Long Beach State opposite hitter grew to love and excel in the sport of volleyball.
With the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, the 49ers faced a tough road to the championship game, as they had to beat the two-time defending national champion Ohio State in the semifinals only two be matched up with perennial powerhouse UCLA in the final game of the year.
In the championship game, 49ers took the first set before dropping the next two. Setting up a must-win fourth set.
“In the first set we kind of crushed them, but UCLA fired back,” Ensing said. “In the fourth set, they were up 11-6 and we had our backs up against the wall, but we never gave up and pushed through to win it in five.”
Finishing with a team-high 20 kills to go with four aces and four blocks, Ensing became the first player during the 25-point rallying scoring era to have at least 20 kills in both the VolleyFour and the NCAA Tournament finals.
“Personally, I wasn’t even thinking of getting the accomplishment,” Ensing said. “I needed to be the best for my team and we needed each other and that was the result. It’s crazy to be the first player. I’m just completely humbled.”
Ensing also finished on the AVCA Division I-II Men’s First Team All-America as well as the NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship All-Tournament Team.
With finals just a week away, Ensing has something other than the end of the school year to be excited for. He was named to Team USA’s preliminary roster for the inaugural edition of Men’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
“I was in the gym last week at practice and the level of competition and degree of IQ is definitely a step up because it’s the best in the nation,” Ensing said. “You are with these incredible athletes that play overseas and professionally, so it’s a humbling and cool experience that I can play and soak everything up.”
Planning to follow in his brother’s footsteps after college and pursue a professional career overseas, Ensing cherishes every time he steps on the court and has some words of advice for his high school alma mater:
“Live in the experience and play for each other and do what my team couldn’t do and go all the way by pushing to be the best.”