Orange Coast College men’s volleyball libero Ryan Manoogian has an unusual problem on the court.
“Sometimes the sweat gets into my hearing aids, which affects my performance in the volleyball game, but I try not to let it bother me,” Manoogian, an undecided major said.
Hearing aids or not, Manoogian, who is deaf, leads his team in digs with 61.
But being deaf has not slowed down the 21-year-old’s gameplay at the libero position and head coach Travis Turner said Manoogian shows tremendous ability on the court.
“Ryan’s effort is above average. I was pleasantly surprised on how good he was when I scouted him,” Turner said, adding later, “The great thing about Manoogian being on this team is that the team interacts with him well.”
Manoogian started playing volleyball in the seventh grade when he was 13.
“I actually was playing baseball at age 13, but I thought volleyball would be the best sport for me,” Manoogian said.
Before coming to OCC, Manoogian played four years of varsity volleyball at Windward High School in Los Angeles. While there, Manoogian was named MVP of the Alpha League in 2012, which was also the same year the high school won the CIF championships and went all the way to the CIF regional finals.
“I came to OCC because it has a great volleyball program, it’s near Newport Beach and it has a great head coach,” Manoogian said.
Being deaf however, hasn’t been easy for Manoogian. He has been put down for being deaf.
“I don’t really care about what people say about me being deaf,” Manoogian said. “The people who talk about me being deaf make me get better at volleyball.”
Manoogian looks up to running back Derrick Coleman of the Seattle Seahawks, who is also deaf.
“He’s always been one of my biggest inspiratons,” Manoogian said.
One of the captains of OCC’s men’s volleyball team, outside hitter Ty Hutchins, 20, a history major, had high praise for his teammate.
“Ryan’s a great player who plays the libero role perfectly. He adds ball control and confidence to our team,” Hutchins said.
Other team captain setter Brendan Duff, 20, a psychology major, also talked about how great Manoogian has been to the team.
“Ryan is a very aggressive player, who knows the game of volleyball well. He does a nice job in serve-receive and he knows what to do in order for our team to win,” Duff said.
Manoogian said he wants to transfer to Hawaii or USC after Orange Coast College. When Manoogian is not dominating the volleyball court, he can be found surfing or playing beach volleyball.
“Ryan is as valuable as every other guy on this team,” Turner said. “We’re really fortunate to have him.”