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Ohio State men’s volleyball coach Pete Hanson: Libero the ‘quarterback’ on volleyball court

Freshman libero Gabriel Domecus (7) attempts to hit the ball during a match against Saint Francis Feb. 9 at St. John Arena. OSU won, 3-1. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editor

Freshman libero Gabriel Domecus (7) attempts to hit the ball during a match against Saint Francis Feb. 9 at St. John Arena. OSU won, 3-1.
Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editor

They’re often the first player to touch the ball when it enters their side of the court. They lead the defense every match while having top-of-the-line passing skills.

Those are just some aspects of play that go into fulfilling the role as a libero on the volleyball court.

Men’s volleyball consists of six players on each side of the court, and one position in particular stands out from the rest.

“We wear a different color jersey and we are not allowed to play front row. Unfortunately, we don’t get to hit the ball or serve,” senior libero Danny Baker said.

This specific player is called the libero, and can be defined as the rearmost roaming defensive player in volleyball, however coach Pete Hanson said the primary skill coaches are looking for in a libero is their passing ability.

“The digging skill is very important, but recently we have looked at this position as more as an asset to the offense,” Hanson said.

Hanson said a successful libero is similar to the “quarterback” role of volleyball and takes ownership of the back row. Along with excelling in particular athletic skills, this player also must portray many key personality traits.

“You are looking for someone who is aggressive, confident, communicative and a take-charge kind of a player, and that is what we try to tell our guys who are playing that position,” Hanson said.

A libero is considered to be a defensive and passing specialist that can sub for any player in the back row at any time during the match.

“The main job of my position is to be the defensive leader on the court. It’s the libero’s job to cover as much of the court as possible when the opposing team plays it back to our side,” freshman libero Gabriel Domecus said.

Because of the fast-paced nature of volleyball, these players need to have skill on offense and defense and the libero is in charge of communicating with the team and making sure every player is in place and on their toes, ready for whatever is going to happen next.

“Our main job is to take control of the defense and passing. We need to communicate before, during and after each play to make sure everyone is on the same page,” Baker said.

Next up, OSU is scheduled to take part in a weekend series against Grand Canyon Friday and Saturday at St. John Arena. Both matches are set for 7 p.m.

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