Athletic News

Defensive catalyst is #2 in RRAC in digs

WACO, Texas -- Senior Laura Espinoza was honored as the Libero of the Week in the Red River Athletic Conference in an official announcement released from the league offices on Monday.

The 5-foot-4 libero (lib-AIR-oh) has keyed the defense for Southwestern Assemblies of God University since the start of the 2011 season. Espinoza, who hails from Duncanville, Texas, has increased her game dramatically over the past two seasons.
Espinoza made 31 digs last week while the Lady Lions went 3-0. Her standout performance came on Saturday against the University of St. Thomas. She saved 24 would-be points by making a defensive scoop to keep the ball in play. During the week she received the ball 40 times and made a lone error.

The former Lady Panther at Duncanville High School also had eight and nine digs respectively against Huston-Tillotson University the University of Dallas, which were won in straight sets by SAGU.

Known as “Lo” by her teammates, she earns “high” praise for her ability to control play on the defensive end. She is averaging 4.9 digs per individual game, a figure that ranks second only to UT-Brownsville’s Paula Barros . Espinoza's dig's per game average is the highest for SAGU since 2006 (Esther Jacquez).

She has reached double figures in digs in 16 of her team’s 19 matches, with a career-high 35 in a five-set contest with Austin College. In nine of those matches she had 20 or more.

The Lady Lions have an 11-8 won-lost record, and are 41-32 in actual games. Overall, Southwestern has won 6-of-their-last-7 matches while going 19-4 in sets.

Congratulations are in order and are well-deserved.

Others honored on Monday included Regina Trapp  of St. Thomas (Texas), who captured the RRAC Volleyball Player of the Week and Hitter of the Week awards for Sept. 26-Oct. 2. UST's Brittany Weiler earned recognition as the RRAC Setter of the Week.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde , Sports Information Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 469-658-2847.

The Libero, According to Wikipedia

The libero is a defensive specialist position that remains in the game at all times. They are designated by their opposite jersey color and tracked throughout the match by game statisticians and governing rules.

The libero is the only player not limited by rules of rotation. They usually replace the middle blocker position when they rotate to the back row and never rotates to the front row themself.

The position was added to the game in 1999 as a way to make games more exciting, by keeping rallies alive.

The libero is responsible for a great deal of the passing in ‘serve receive.’ Often the libero will be responsible for a much greater part of the court than their teammates.

The libero is in the game to add ball control, so their main responsibility is to pass the ball well so the team can run the offense.

On defense the libero needs to dig well, getting a hand on every ball they can to keep the play alive. Since the libero has no attack responsibilities, they must chase down every ball possible.

They may also be responsible for setting if the ball is dug by the setter or out of the setter's range.
 

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