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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Volleyball 101: Opposite

Larry Hogan/Arizona Daily Wildcat Shaquillah Torres, No. 22, plays Utah Valley with the rest of the UA volleyball team on Aug. 25, 2012.

The Opposite

On the Roster

Shaquillah Torres, sophomore, 6-foot-1

Alyse Hensley, junior, 6-foot-3

Kendall Walwick, freshman, 6-foot

The opposite is arguably one of the most underappreciated positions on the court. Often known as the weak side hitter, the opposite is generally a utility player. In other words, she is athletic and adequate at all the required skills but does not necessarily specialize in one skill more than others. Home base for the position is the front right area of the court. The rotation of the players is set up so that the player is always opposite the setter, hence the name.

“At the opposite on any team you have to have a player who can attack the ball,” head coach Dave Rubio said. “If that is missing your offense becomes very one-sided. I need someone who has a scoring ability but also the ability to defend and block.”

As the third position on the net, the opposite is expected to be an effective hitter, passer, server and blocker. If the setter is on defense and cannot participate offensively on the second touch, it is the opposite’s duty to step in as the setter for the play.

“Based on the goals of the team, it’s important also to have someone who is as low-error as possible both defensively and offensively,” Rubio said.

Due to the positioning of the setter on the court, the opposite usually will hit a back set where the setter sets the ball behind her. The opposite is expected to be a good enough hitter to get through the best blockers on the opposing team, the outside hitter and middle blocker. As a blocker the opposite has to be able to put up defense on the net against the opposing team’s best hitter, the outside.

A strong opposite can easily upset the opponent’s offense by tempering the strength of the other team’s outside hitter.

Shaquillah Torres and Alyse Hensley have been splitting time as the Wildcats starter so far this season.

“Because of the situation with our team being so young, our line-up in the position is all about who can perform better on that specific day,” Rubio said. “Right now we can make substitutions based on who is better.

“Alyse is left handed so that’s something she brings to the position. She can also pass and serve well. Shaq excels in blocking and is probably the best pin blocker over all.”

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