Pilot in the Spotlight: Benji Michel Wins 2nd WCC Player of the Week Award this Year
This week’s Pilot in the Spotlight, where we recognize a Pilot athlete who performed exceptionally well in their sport throughout the week, goes to Benji Michel, the starting forward for the men’s soccer team.
Michel played exceptionally well against Western Michigan on Sept. 29, who was ranked ninth at the time, helping hand the Broncos their first loss of the year. His performance was good enough to help him nab honors for the second time this year. In Michel’s eyes, the award is nice, but it’s all just part of the process and a result of hard work.
“Honestly, I haven’t really thought about it,” Michel said. “I guess it feels great. You know what they say if you work hard, the rest will come.”
Michel acknowledges that he wouldn’t be where he is, however, without the help of his teammates and coaches.
“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” Michel said. “My coach Nick, he’s helped me out everyday after practice when I have time. We stay after and do finishing and also with Rey Ortiz we do crossing and finishing.”
“That way I help him and he helps me.”
It’s been a good year so far for the sophomore forward. He’s among the league leaders in goals for the NCAA, sitting at sixth right now and is first in the WCC with nine. He is also eighth in the country in goals per game at .80. But for Michel, it’s all about keeping it simple.
“My mindset is to just stay positive, not worrying about when I’m going to score or how I’m going to score,” Michel said. “I just play my game, do the simple things right, and just enjoy the game.”
The Pilots started conference play on Oct. 7, beating the Pacific Tigers at home 3-1, with Michel netting his ninth goal of the year against them. The Tigers were the preseason favorites to win the conference title this year. With the win, they put themselves in a position to defend their title from last year.
“We will still try to defend that title,” Michel said when talking about expectations for the rest of the year. If Michel keeps playing like he has, they just might do it.