Ben Somera - Head Women's Volleyball Coach
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Ben Somera, most recently the head coach of women's volleyball at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., has been appointed faculty head coach of women's volleyball at Wesleyan University for the 2015 season.
Ben steps into the post handled by Gale Lackey since 1985 as she announced her retirement effective at the end of the academic year. He is just the third-ever varsity head coach of Cardinal women's volleyball as Lackey assumed the reins in just the second varsity season, leading the program through 30 campaigns.
Ben led the Hawks of Roger Williams to three conference championships and three bids to the NCAA Division III tournament (2012-14). His squads compiled a three-year mark of 75-21 and set program records for wins (31), hitting percentage (.263), assist per game (12.0) and kills per game (13.1) while picking up the program's only NCAA Tournament wins. The Hawks were the first team to complete Commonwealth Coast Conference regular-season play without dropping a set (2014), the only CCC team to top the NCAA New England Regional Rankings (2013) and the only CCC team to ever be ranked in the AVCA Top 25 (for eight weeks in 2013). Ben was the 2014 Commonwealth Coast Conference Coach of the Year. Four Hawks received All-America honors, three athletes were selected to the NCAA Tournament All-Region team and the program had its first Academic All-American.
Prior to Roger Williams, Ben spent 15 season coaching at the NCAA Division I level. From 2005-11 Ben coached at the University of South Carolina as an associate head coach for two seasons before taking over in 2007. His 2008 team posted a 21-9 mark and led the Southeastern Conference in offensive efficiency. South Carolina had its first All-American and Academic All-Americans during his time in Columbia and three athletes were selected to the All-South Region Team.
From 1999-2006, Ben was an assistant coach and associate head coach at Oregon State University. While there, he helped the Beavers to only their second-ever trip to the NCAA Division I Championship in 2001.
Ben began his coaching career at his alma mater, the University of Southern California, as a volunteer assistant in 1993 before being promoted to second assistant in 1994, helping in the development of three middle blockers who earned All-America laurels.
Ben will be serving his third year as president of the New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA) in 2015-16.
Ben hails from La Crescenta, Calif., and earned his bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Southern California. He is married to Nancy Somera (Hillman) and the couple has two children: son, Sam (18), and daughter, Maile (14).
Lee Maes - Assistant Coach
Bringing over 25 years of coaching experience, Lee Maes comes to Wesleyan as the new assistant coach in 2015, joining first-year head coach Ben Somera.
Regarded as one of the top coaches in the country, Lee has a wealth of experience coming from 19 years at the Division I level with teams at Cal-Berkeley, Nebraska, Virginia, and most recently Louisville. During his Division I coaching tenure, Lee has trained numerous All-Americans and a couple National Players of the Year. As the head assistant coach at Nebraska, he helped the Huskers win the 2006 National Championship. He led the Cal men's volleyball team to a National Championship runner-up finish in 1998 and was named Coach of the Year. Lee also has extensive experience with USA Volleyball, serving in various coaching capacities with the High Performance and National Team programs. In addition to his work at the collegiate and national team levels, Lee has spent over 15 years coaching at four of the premier junior club programs in the nation: Ichiban, Golden Bear, Laguna Beach and Sunshine Volleyball Clubs. He has developed and sent more than 100 prospects on to the collegiate level. His club teams have won five 18-Open medals at the Junior Olympic Championships, highlighted by winning the Gold Medal in 1996. Two of his former club players, Misty May and Heather Bown, have represented the U.S. at the Olympic Games.
A native of Long Beach, Calif., Lee began his coaching career as the head girls volleyball coach at his alma mater, Lakewood High School. He also served as the boys varsity coach at Edison High School in Huntington Beach, Calif. Lee graduated from Long Beach State University in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and geography. He is currently pursuing his Master's degree in Wesleyan's Graduate Liberal Studies program.