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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Volleyball 101: Libero

Larry Hogan/Arizona Daily Wildcat Ronni Lewis, No. 1, celebrates during a volleyball match in McKale Center on Aug. 25, 2012.


– On the Roster: – Emily Kiser, junior, 5-foot-10 – Ronni Lewis, sophomore, 5-foot-5 – Candace Nicholson, junior, 5-foot-8 (starter) – Stevie Stier, freshman, 5-foot-3

The libero is the only player on the floor confined to the back half of the court. Their primary responsibility is to defend the ball so the setter can generate a play. The libero is a defensive specialist and rarely participates in the offense. Once the back half of the rotation passes, the hitter that will take over the net replaces the libero ­­­­­— most likely a middle blocker, but depending on the team, an outside hitter can share the rotation.

“Digging the hard hitters is the best part,” sophomore defensive specialist Ronni Lewis said. “Getting balls up that everyone expects will hit the ground and giving our hitters the opportunity to score in a rally makes me feel like I am a part of the offense even though I’m a defender.”

The main purpose of the defensive player is to pass the serve, play defense and dig hits from the opposing team. A libero is able to serve and subsititute in and out of the court without penalizing the team with a substitution. In other words, the libero can come in and out of play as long as they remain in the back row. It is due to this substitution loophole that the libero wears a different colored jersey from the rest of the team.

“The hardest part is staying focused on the easy plays like free balls and easy down balls,” Lewis said. “That’s when you have to really work on technique and focus on your form to make the ball go where you want, as opposed to a fast ball where you’re just reacting.”

Since the libero only plays defense, height is not a requirement and can even be a disadvantage, as the libero needs to have light, quick feet and an even quicker reaction time. A good read on the hitter and where the ball will go is a key skill, as well as perfect form when passing the ball.

The defensive specialist fulfills all the same duties as the libero but does not wear a unique jersey, therefore they must substitute onto the court like any of the other players.

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