Women’s Volleyball Star Paola Beniquez Shatters Queensborough Records
Team swept the District G Championship,
And will compete in the National Tournament, for the third year in a row!
Sophomore sensation Paola Beniquez has commanded the court since she first enrolled at Queensborough Community College in the fall of 2017. Now, she heads to the National Tournament with three all-time Queensborough records as a leader in aces, kills and digs.
The best way to describe the arc of Beniquez’ athletic career at Queensborough is to begin every sentence with first, best and only. She is:
- The first ever Queensborough Women’s Volleyball player to be named an NJCAA First Team All-American. She is currently the NJCAA Division III leader in service aces (145), and is second in service aces per set (1.75)
- The 2017 and 2018 CUNYAC and Region XV Player of the Year, Paola led her team with 297 kills on an impressive .359 hitting percentage, en route to garnering the NJCAA All-America first-team distinction in 2017.
- The 2018 CUNYAC Women's Volleyball Athlete of the Week for the sixth time in six weeks. This marks Paola's 11th time out of 12 weeks over the past two seasons that she has taken home this award.
- The September 2018 CUNYAC/Hospital for Special Surgery Community College Scholar-Athlete of the Month. Through the month of September, she led the Tigers with a team-best 88 kills on a startling .406 hitting percentage. She was also a 2017-18 Third Team Academic All-American with a grade point average on 3.777.
- The holder of the CUNYAC Tournament Most Valued Player award in 2017, as well as the Region XV Tournament Most Valuable Player award in 2017 and 2018.
The wave of accolades for the Women’s Volleyball team is spectacular. They swept the District G Championships defeating Nassau Community College, 3-1, and Northern Essex Community College, 3-0, on Sunday October 28 to earn a trip to the National Championship Tournament on November 8-10 in Rochester, Minnesota. The team is currently 28-1 for the season. On October 30, the team cracked the NJCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball National Poll and is currently ranked eighth in the country. Preceding this triumph, the team won the Region XV Championship for the third straight year.
Driving this team to success is head coach, Jason Demas, who was awarded 2018 CUNYAC and Region XV Coach of the Year awards. This year, Demas has guided the Tigers to a 28-1 mark, with their only loss coming to a Division One program on the road. Over his first nine seasons as head coach, Demas has compiled an impressive career record of 171-55-1 (.756).
“This team is a joy to work with and I’m very proud of every player. They have real passion for volleyball and give all they’ve got, all of the time, for every practice and for every game. This is why we consistently come out on top!”
Volleyball has been a passion of Beniquez’s since her days growing up in Puerto Rico and has carried her love of the game to New York City.
“I have been playing volleyball since I was five years old. Volleyball is special to me because it is what taught me to challenge myself constantly. I have to continuously push myself to become better and better. It has taught me communication skills, how to be a leader, working as a group and to continuously set goals for myself,” Beniquez explains.
“I have always put school before volleyball, but I try to balance it out my best by Tutoring really helps me understand everything better and that way when I go home, I get everything done faster,” She has a 3.77 GPA as an Art and Design major.
“Inspiring students to be their best, both in athletics and in the classroom, is always our goal and we do everything we can to support them in managing their time between classes and volleyball practices and games,” said Jon Hochberg, Student Athletics Director.
Although her family may not be in the city, all is not lost. Beniquez has found her voice and an outlet outside of the court in art, and more specifically, painting.
“Art majors seek inspiration on a daily basis. I love to paint while I listen to music. I have a lot going on in my mind and it helps me get everything that I am feeling out and it distracts me from all my problems. I chose to come to New York in the first place for the art culture.”
When she is back home in Puerto Rico, Beniquez devotes her time to pursue all the things her community has to offer. That includes giving back to those on the island who are less fortunate and were ravaged by the effects of Hurricane Maria.
After being asked of what her plans for the future are and what future endeavors lie ahead, another thing becomes clear, this is just the beginning.
“I hope to transfer to a university with a prestigious art and design program to get my bachelor's degree and that also has a volleyball program, so I can continue playing for the two years I have left at the college level.”