Volume 96, Issue 62
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

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Volleyball's libero - can you dig it?

After receiving complaints that Western volleyball teams always have a player wearing an away jersey at home games, The Gazette decided to let the people know what a libero is. The libero, like the offensive line in football, do a large amount of the dirty work and get little credit.

To learn more, we talked to the starting libero of the men's volleyball team, John Hong, a second-year science student. As he explained, his jersey is more than a fashion statement.



What is a libero?

A libero is a back-court player that subs in for somebody, he only plays back-court, he can't serve and he can't attack – basically he runs the back-court; he's a defender.



What type of skills do you need to be a libero?

Usually guys that have good passing skills, serving skills and defense – those are the kind of guys who play. I'm probably somewhere in between.



Why does the libero wear a different colour jersey from his teammates?

To distinguish themselves so that the refs know who's coming in and out. Usually you would have to make a substitution, but being a libero means I'm basically free to go in and out as I please.



Since liberos are mainly back-court players, do they try to make all the digs (retrieving an attack ball close to the floor)?

They try to, but it's kind of hard when you've got guys pounding balls here and there.



How would you dig up a monster kill?

A lot of it has to do with the defense and how they setup. When I'm playing, a lot of the time they will try and funnel the ball in my direction. Obviously, they want to give it to the guys who are better at [digging] and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It comes down to years of playing and knowing where the ball is going.

– Rahim Bharmal

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2002 THE GAZETTE