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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Resch digs libero role

    Outside hitter turned libero Alanna Resch crouches for a dig during practice yesterday in McKale Center. The 5-foot-9 sophomore played her first game as a libero against Kentucky last weekend, tallying 15 digs.
    Outside hitter turned libero Alanna Resch crouches for a dig during practice yesterday in McKale Center. The 5-foot-9 sophomore played her first game as a libero against Kentucky last weekend, tallying 15 digs.

    Her teammates call her “”Lonibons,”” but you can call her diverse.

    Arizona volleyball player Alanna Resch was an outside hitter her entire career until last weekend when she was switched to libero in the Regency Suites Classic in Atlanta. The Wildcats won all three of their matches, thanks in part to Resch at her new position.

    “”It was something that I’ve been expecting to happen, but I didn’t know when,”” Resch said. “”I absolutely love hitting the ball, and I felt like I was getting better at it (as an opposite hitter), but I’m happy with the change.””

    Resch was given the color-contrasting jersey to play libero and led the team with 3.10 digs per game in the series, including a career-high 15 digs against Kentucky on Friday.

    Meanwhile, the two regular liberos, Katie Jackels and Brittany Leonard, played in the tournament as defensive specialists in the back row. Jackels and Leonard replaced outside hitters Tiffany Owens and Brooke Buringrud, respectively, each time the outside hitters rotated to the back row, creating an enhanced defense.

    “”It’s tough when you have to compete with your good friends,”” said Jackels, who has set three school records in digs this season. “”But I feel really comfortable playing next to (Alanna) whether she’s libero or anything else. She’s someone I love to play with.””

    The switch came at the same time that the team’s two middle blockers, Dominique Lamb and Jacy Norton, traded places as well to set up better shots for

    each player.

    UA head coach Dave Rubio said he did not move Resch to libero at the beginning of the season because he needed her as a backup on the left side with Whitney Dosty out indefinitely with a knee injury and the freshman Owens still getting a feel for the college game.

    With Owens showing why she was a national top-50 recruit in recent weeks, and Dosty anticipated to return soon, Rubio said the modifications on the court were due.

    “”The reason I recruited Alanna was to play libero for us one day,”” he said of the sophomore from San Diego. “”I just felt like it was time to make that change and allow Brittany and Katie to serve and play back row for Brooke and Tiffany. So far, I think those changes are the

    right ones.””

    As an outside hitter, Resch played in a position where she was often underestimated because of her 5-foot-9 stature.

    “”Yeah, she’s 5-foot-9 if she’s standing on her tip-toes,”” Rubio said with a smile.

    Rubio said that Resch’s success at the net came from being fast and explosive, but added that her blocking would be deficient when the team gets into conference play next week.

    Fittingly, it’s the hitting that Resch felt confident about as the outside hitter.

    “”Our short coach, (assistant) Chris (Gonzalez), says I’m too short to play outside hitter,”” Resch said. “”I’m the kind of person that doesn’t like to be looked down upon and I like to prove people wrong. With him saying that, I’d go for a shot from the outside hitter position just to prove him wrong. I’m short, but I can jump.””

    Though she’d rather kill a ball for a point than dig one to save one, Resch said she’s most comfortable with passing, defense and serving – a further explanation of her move to libero.

    “”I feel like people can depend on me to get things done in those areas,”” she said.

    There are many reasons why Lonibons is so confident. Part of it comes from extra repetitions digging spikes like she did for 25 minutes after practice Tuesday in McKale Center. Part of it comes from Rubio, who said that she “”could be one of the best (liberos) in the country

    one day.””

    Some of it stems from family support from her brother, Brandon, who played football and volleyball at San Diego and her mom, Beverly, who played volleyball at San Diego State.

    Growing up, Alanna and Brandon often played volleyball together. They played pepper on the beach and had competitions to show who the better server was.

    “”He’s my biggest fan,”” Alanna said of her brother, who graduated in the spring. “”Besides my mom.””

    And still, Resch strives on the love that her teammates adorn her with, no matter what position she plays.

    “”Alanna is a player you can always rely on,”” Jackels said. “”She’s really dependable on a serve-receive and one of the best passers I’ve ever seen play. Her defense is great, and she has every aspect of a great libero. I’m really proud of her.””

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