SBCC’s Zakarian named WSC Coach of the Year

After leading SBCC to the state playoffs in his first season at the helm, Armen Zakarian has been honored as the WSC men’s volleyball co-Coach of the Year.

Zakarian, a former SBCC and UCSB standout, shared the award with El Camino’s Richard Blount. Santa Barbara (9-9) finished second in the WSC with a 6-4 record.

Vaquero sophomores Justin Hertlein, Kyle Benskin and setter Kaahukane Leite-Ah Yo were first-team All-WSC selections. Hertlein led the squad in kills with 207 and was fourth in the conference in kills per set (3.39). Benskin, a middle blocker from Dos Pueblos High, was No. 2 in hitting percentage at .415 and Leite-Ah Yo was third in assists (10.7 per set).

Outside hitter Justin Carroll and libero Jacob Jenkins, a pair of freshmen, were second-team choices.

The Vaqueros won five in a row late in the season, including a 3-2 win at WSC champion Long Beach that snapped the Vikings’ 29-match conference win streak. SBCC fell to eventual state champion Irvine Valley 3-1 in the state quarterfinals on April 18.

Zakarian said he never thought about being Coach of the Year.

“I was more concerned with the fact that we doubled our win total from the previous year and had a chance in the playoffs,” he said. “I have my players to thank for that. They hung in and believed in me, and so has the entire staff at our school. … I couldn’t ask for a better support group.”