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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Besties Lukes and Benbow have Toreros on a roll

At very first glance, University of San Diego volleyball players Katie Lukes and Annie Benbow would seem to be like the higher education variation of The Odd Pair.

Lukes is 6 toes, 2 inches tall. Benbow barely scratches 5-3. Raised in San Clemente, Lukes is extra SoCal than surf, sand and fish tacos. Benbow grew up in Texas.

An outside attacker, Lukes earns his scholarship by crushing kills above the net. Benbow, a libero, dives across the flooring like a baseball participant sliding headfirst.

But truth of the matter be advised, the redshirt seniors, who resisted the transfer portal’s temptation to enjoy all five seasons in USD, are inseparable ideal close friends.

“I look at Katie like a sister,” Benbow claimed. “I think she would die devoid of Katie Lukes in my life.”

In a story on the USD website, Lukes said: “She is my ease and comfort zone on the court docket. It is really just a blessing to go by way of this with your greatest good friend.”

The No. 2-rated Toreros wrap up the house leg of their standard period tonight from St. Mary’s, then Saturday against Pacific. It is just about surely not the final USD games this period within the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

With that lofty ranking and a faculty document-tying 19-game successful streak, the Toreros (22-1) are envisioned to host the to start with two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. And the most effective Lukes and Benbow have played a major factor in the team’s achievement.

Lukes prospects the USD in kills with 311. His career overall of 1,244 kills ranks 10th in the show’s history. Benbow outranks the Bullfighters in digs with 292, a lot more than double his closest teammate.

The Texan, in simple fact, is on his way to turning out to be the USD race chief in digs. She totals 1,457 in her career, just 32 shy of the mark established by Hunter Jennings from 2013 to 2016.

“They each have a fierce tenacity to direct this team,” head coach Jennifer Petrie reported. “They are the pulse of the crew.”

In a roster packed with veterans, Lukes and Benbow are the only bullfighters to have performed all five seasons in USD, foremost Petrie to say, “They are like the matriarchs of this team.”

As for how that friendship developed, the bond created in the spring semester of their freshman 12 months when they shared an English class. Being aware of every single other, they by natural means sat jointly. A single working day, Lukes was a minimal underneath the weather, wheezing and sneezing with a runny nose.

Demonstrating no joking sympathy, Benbow told him, “Shut up.”

“She died laughing,” Benbow stated.

“That is when I realized you were being funny,” Lukes mentioned. “You ended up roasting me.”

The bond has only blossomed at any time because. The pair have shared the exact bedroom, condominium or home for decades. Lukes visited Benbow’s loved ones in Frisco, Texas. Benbow has been with the Lukes household in San Clemente. Benbow joined the Lukes on a family vacation to Cabo San Lucas.

“The ideal 4 days of our lives,” Lukes stated.

This year, they are virtually roommates, sharing a area with their beds, in accordance to Benbow, “an inch aside.”

In a natural way, as finest pals do, they break chops.

“She’s a little clumsy,” Lukes mentioned. “I’ve found her fall or drop a million issues in her life.”

Guilty, admits Benbow, who obtained a sandal caught in a mall elevator on a current street trip, halting the elevator.

“I spill, toss, crack items or vacation all the time,” Benbow said.

Benbow paints Lukes as an Orange County drama queen.

“She’s so OC, your normal blonde OC girl,” Benbow said. “'(She’ll say) Oh my God, I require to get my nails carried out. My roots are so terrible. I have to take care of my hair. She just can make me giggle.”

The off-court docket bond carries around to the flooring.

“There will be a go and we get the job done so very well together that we do not have to say everything,” Benbow stated. “We have come to be so close that I can practically go through his thoughts.”

Like a strike track that soars up the charts, USD has designed a meteoric rise up the nationwide charts. Los Toreros opened the season ranked 25th nationally. From there, they have absent up to 15, 12, 8, 4, 3 and 2 in the very last two months.

They have removed 4 rated demonstrates and have been dominant of late, profitable 35 sets in a row.

Petrie is in his 24th year in demand of the Toreros. His application is by considerably the most effective in USD, the Toreros innovative to the NCAA Event 21 of the past 23 seasons. The furthest bullfighters have state-of-the-art in the postseason is the Sweet 16.

Petrie has identified as this the most proficient team in its background, and when the Toreros are happy with their achievements (“It can be so surreal, I are not able to consider it,” Benbow reported), they are not happy.

“We know we have a lot extra out there,” Petrie said. “They are not dazzled by the stars. They’re fairly focused.”

As for finest mates, Benbow reported they joke that as adults they can’t stay far more than 30 minutes aside. That when they are married and have small children, they are not able to live more than a street absent for their youngsters to participate in collectively.

Benbow stated, “We’re heading to be the very best of pals until finally the working day we die.”

Norcross is a freelance author.

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Nicole Aniston
Nicole loves to write and works as a corporate communications expert by day. She's been working in the field for quite some time now. Her training in media studies has provided her a wide perspective from which to tackle various issues. Public relations, corporate communications, travel, entrepreneurship, insurance, and finance are just few of the many topics she's interested in covering in her work.
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