Higher learning at Long Beach State

Photo courtesy LBSU Athletics

For Kyle Ensing, volleyball almost never stops. Since earning a scholarship to Long Beach State after a prep career at Valencia, he’s consistently been taking his game to new heights, and this year has been no exception.

Ensing spent the summer playing around the world with the U.S. National Team. The match against Russia, in particular, stands out to him.

“There’s some 7-footers in college, but they’re not as developed and built into the body like these guys were,” Ensing said. “And going against the guys was pretty awesome to see what the best level of the world was, and how I did against it, and ended up doing really well.”

After touring the world with the country’s best men’s volleyball players, Ensing returned to Long Beach State, where he’s currently in his senior year with the NCAA Division 1 volleyball team.

Coming off an NCAA championship title, Ensing and the 49ers had a reputation to live up to. They did so by winning the first 19 games of the season, dropping the first contest of the year to USC on March 23.

The 49ers didn’t take the sweep lightly.

“A minor setback was losing against USC, but I think that woke us up and got us on the right track again,” Ensing said.

The team, which ranks second in the country, went on to win the next five matches, including a contest that went to five sets against previously undefeated and No. 1-ranked University of Hawaii.

Ensing tied for a team-high 18 kills and added seven blocks and five digs.

“Every game is going to be important, but this one happens to be a team that’s undefeated and it’s a No. 1 vs. No. 2, and its it’s two of the biggest schools going at it, and it’s going to be a fun game to play,” Ensing said before the match. “We’re going to have to hand it to them because we’re the defending national champions.”

Ensing is one of five seniors on a Long Beach roster that’s determined to not just get back to the national championships, but win an NCAA title for the second straight year.

It would be the perfect ending to a college volleyball career. Although Ensing didn’t always see himself playing the sport in college. After playing football and volleyball for most of his life, he decided to try out volleyball after watching his brother, who currently plays professionally in Macedonia, play.

“I saw my brother get s scholarship to play volleyball for Long Beach State, I saw some of the games, I thought, ‘Man, I could do more with volleyball,’ and that inspired me because my brother did it,” Ensing said.

After college, Ensing will pursue a pro career in Europe, and turn his attention back to Team USA, with the goal of earning a spot on the roster for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

He’s already learned a lot from his time with USA Volleyball, especially playing overseas with the program over the summer.

“The best part would be just being able to play with the best players in the world and get to learn from all of them and really improve my game,” Ensing said. “And just get to travel all over the world.”

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