ADRIAN -- There are still a lot of volleyball fans who aren’t exactly sure what a libero does.
The hitting and setter positions are better defined for the average fan.
As for the libero, even the name seems weird. Wikipedia says it’s an Italian word meaning “free.” Google defines the libero as a back-row defensive specialist, often reserved for shorter players with outstanding ball-control skills.
Mayssa Tweet, a senior with the Adrian/Ellsworth Dragons high school volleyball team, is a libero. She’s also one of the more exceptional liberos in southwest Minnesota, and has been for at least a couple of years now as she has helped her team to impressive success in the sport.
So if you ask her to describe what she does on the court, you probably couldn’t get it from a better source.
“Being a libero is a tougher job than a lot of people think,” Tweet explained. “It’s a very mental position where you have to snap out of it if you make a mistake. You have to have a short memory. It’s throwing and sacrificing your body no matter what. You get a lot of bruises and floor burns, but it’s worth it because you can’t get a set or a hit without a pass.”
Tweet’s athleticism and aggressiveness pays high dividends. She is often the first player to get a bump on an opponent’s serve. She saves points by diving and tumbling in all directions. She’s sometimes needed to make a good set. Other times, she needs to get the ball over the net from a deep position. Yes, it’s a tough job.
This week, Mayssa joins her older sister Kasie as the featured athlete in The Drill. Kasie was featured two years ago and now Mayssa gets the same treatment.
It’s fitting, of course. Both are outstanding volleyball players, and for years they formed a kind of mutual admiration society. Naturally, Mayssa looks up to Kasie. In her Drill interview two years ago, Kasie said she actually looks up to Mayssa.
You can see a video of Mayssa’s Drill feature online at www.dglobe.com. Here’s a sample of the interview:
QUESTION: How good might this Adrian/Ellsworth volleyball team be this year?
ANSWER: “We have a couple girls who have played club year-round volleyball this year, so the work will definitely benefit us. We’re going to try to be a very scrappy team this year. We have a couple coming back who are very good offensive hitters for us.”
QUESTION: You and your sister Kasie are close. Can you explain?
ANSWER: “My sister Kasie, I’ve played with her for three or four years on varsity, and now she’s off playing at Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter. I definitely think growing up and playing with her, I’ve always looked up to her. She’s always made me push to be a better player on the court, but more so off the court. We’ve always been so close.”
QUESTION: Have you got a special sports memory to review, something that you’ll never forget?
ANSWER: “Something in my high school career that happened that I’ll never forget is my sophomore year at the sub-section championship game against Tracy. We lost the first two sets and we came back, won the third, won the fourth, and it was in the fifth set and things were getting shaky. We were getting nervous because if we didn’t win, the season was done. And we wanted to get back to the section finals to compete against Minneota again. It was, I think, game point, and I was so nervous I could just feel myself shaking. And I kind of shanked the serve receive ball, and Brianna Reckamp sacrificed her body, threw it up, and someone put it over, and we ended up winning the point. And I could just remember a feeling of such relief that we won and she saved my butt. I’ll just never forget that moment.”