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The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

Moughon to Continue Playing Volleyball in College

Photo Courtesy Ben Moughon

MIHS senior Ben Moughon will be heading to Boston next fall to play volleyball at the Wentworth Institute of Technology. He will be the first male MIHS student to play volleyball at the college level. 

Moughon began his volleyball career when he was around 10 years old and started by playing on a girls team.

“There wasn’t any men’s teams for me to join so I had to join a girls team,” Moughon said.

The United States, like many other countries around the world, views volleyball as largely a women’s sport. Though many areas of the country have begun forming men’s volleyball teams and developmental programs, there are still far fewer opportunities for male athletes to play volleyball versus female players.

“I think that guys kinda have a negative image of volleyball, and it’s tough to change that,” Moughon said. “But right now … [guys are] getting more interested in it and it’s really nice to see.” 

Moughon’s own club, Absolute Zero, has been steadily building since he first joined.

“I was the first guy in the club so I [played] with the girls team,” Moughon said. “Eventually [we] got enough guys where we could build up a team and then we played other girls teams.”

“[Men’s volleyball has] expanded a lot, and it’s all thanks to my coach. She is a huge, huge, contributor to mens volleyball here. She hosts tournaments and she helps out the clubs with getting players interested in their teams.”

Moughon’s coach, Dr. Billie Hwang, works as a transplant immunologist involved in cancer and solid-organ transplantation in the Surgery department at the University of Washington. In addition, due to her lack of assistant coaches, Hwang coaches each of the teams in her club individually while also running Absolute Zero by herself.

“The opportunity to watch a player grow up on and off the court is without question one of the best aspects of coaching,” Hwang said. “A few of Ben’s most admirable attributes in volleyball [are] his enthusiasm, passion and drive which [haven’t] changed since he was 10 years old.”

Moughon credits Hwang as being a large reason for why he began to and continues to play volleyball. 

“I’ve had [Hwang] for my whole volleyball career, and I think she’s the reason why I wanna continue playing volleyball,” Moughon said. “[She does] everything that she could possibly do for all of us and it’s really inspiring to see her work that hard for something that she cares about.”

As he brings a close to his high school career, Moughon admits that his college application process was not one of a typical high school student preparing to play a sport for college.

“I kinda didn’t know I wanted to play volleyball in college until probably the springtime of this last year, and that’s pretty late for someone who’s looking to be a college athlete,” Moughon said.

Wentworth University, which offers 19 bachelor’s degree programs as well as master’s degrees, ended up being the perfect fit for Moughon to continue his volleyball career. 

“It was a pretty tough search to find the right school for me,” Moughon said. “Especially because I wanna do mechanical engineering and the vast majority of the schools that [have] NCAA [men’s] volleyball [are] mostly liberal arts.”

Wentworth University is ranked at #32 among the best engineering colleges and in the 2019-2020 academic school year, it awarded 113 bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering. 

After Moughon applied to Wentworth and was eventually admitted, he visited the campus in Boston to meet the team and coach.

“I was talking to the coach and he invited me down there and I stayed with the team. [I] played with them and I loved it, so that’s why I decided to go.”

Though excited for the next four years, Moughon is not looking to pursue volleyball post-graduation.

“I’ve put in a good amount of thought into it but I don’t think I would want to pursue professional volleyball, [it] just doesn’t really align with what I want for my life,” Moughon said.

Despite not looking to continue with professional volleyball in his future, Moughon still holds love for the game as well as gratitude for the people and experiences volleyball has brought him.

“Whether [it’s] going to the gym or going to practices, hanging out with the guys, I’ve invested so much of my time in [volleyball] just because I love the sport and I love my coach and my teammates. They’ve made the whole experience what it is. I don’t think I’d be as far as I am now without [them].”

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About the Contributor
Tiffany Zhang
Tiffany Zhang, Features & Sports Team
Tiffany Zhang is a senior at MIHS and in her second year of journalism. She is currently a member of the Features Team and the Sports Team and has served as a staff writer in the past. In her free time, Tiffany enjoys reading, thrifting, and watching Formula 1 races.

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    GracieApr 1, 2022 at 1:08 pm

    Great article!