Volleyball, family both staples of Benson’s life and career

Edward Rudman Sports Writer

The volleyball team will look to improve upon their 2019 season when they potentially play in the spring semester.

If the season is to take place in the spring, middle blocker Erika Benson, a junior, will look to be a big part of the team’s progression and success during this semester when it comes to training and for the upcoming season, whenever that may take place.

“It’s been a little different so far because of COVID but it’s been good to get back in the gym and be back with everybody and having some interaction with the freshman since we hadn’t really been able to before,” said Benson.

Most of Benson’s life has circulated around volleyball, as she started playing when she was in fifth grade. Even before taking up volleyball, she was familiar with the sport and for that she thanks her older sister.

“My sister played volleyball before I did so I kind of watched her play as I was growing up,” said Benson. “I kind of fell in love with the sport when she was playing and then once I started playing, I fell in love with it all over again. It’s a fun way to hang out with my friends and be in competition.”

Benson grew up in Long Island and attended Kings Park High School in New York, where she received All-State and All-Long Island honors and was her team’s MVP. She was also a stalwart in the classroom as she was a member of the National Honor Society, according to Southern’s Athletic Website.

She realized around her junior year in high school that she was good enough to play at the next level and began to think about which university she wanted to attend.

“I knew I wanted to play volleyball in college and I also came in undecided with what I wanted to do academically. It was between physical therapy and nursing, and Southern was just a good mix of both majors so it was a perfect fit for me in the end,” said Benson.

Offensively, Benson recorded 182 kills and scored 212.5 points last season and notched 32 digs and 54 total blocks defensively as the team finished 14-16 overall and 7-6 in Northeast 10 conference play.

Benson’s favorite moment so far in her first two years on the program was when the team won the NE10 conference championship her freshman year, beating American International College in three sets.

“It was so fun,” said Benson. “We had all been looking forward to it the whole season so when we finally won it was just everything, we wanted that season and it happened for us.”

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