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Digging the Defense: Rio Named Libero of the Year


The Collegiate Volleyball Update (CVU.com) is pleased to announce its selection of Ball State's Alyssa Rio as the 2010 CVU.com Libero of the Year.

Following in the footsteps of Amanda McCormick, Rio is the second Cardinal to not only make the annual CVU list, but to be honored as Libero of the Year.

A 5-10 senior, Rio didn't miss a match her first two seasons before an injury kept her sidelined for part of her junior year. But, 2010 was a standout season for as she averaged a career-best 5.86 digs per set. The senior also scooped up CVU National Player of the week honors in November after a picking up a career-high 44 digs versus Western Michigan. Rio also was the MAC Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-conference performer.

The rest of this season's Top Five has some new faces as only one player repeats from last year. Villanova's Kim Maroon returns to the list and is joined by Tracey Lam of Rice, Valparaiso libero Taylor Root and Drake's Alana Wittenburg.

Not only strong stopping the attack, Maroon was solid on both sides of the serve, recording only 16 return errors and tallying 51 aces (.49 per set, 13th in Division I) to go with her 5.54 digs per set. The junior was named the Big East Libero of the Year as she helped the Wildcats to their most conference wins ever (11).

Another conference award winner, Lam earned her third consecutive Conference USA Libero of the Year honor in 2010, making her only the second player to win the award three times. The senior averaged 5.77 digs per set and finishes her career with a school-record 2,368 digs, good for second all-time in C-USA.

The national leader in digs per set with 5.94, Root anchored the back row as Valparaiso was named CVU's Top Digging Team of 2010. A sophomore, Root set school and conference single-season records as she amassed 754 total digs. She was named Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year and picked up weekly defensive honors three times.

A first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection, Wittenburg was the national leader in total digs, finishing with 764. That total also set school and conference single-season records as the senior broker the MVC's mark of 698 digs. Wittenburg also holds the Drake single-match mark of 39 digs, which she set against Evansville in September.

Libero of the Year

Alyssa Rio, Ball State

Honorable Mentions

  • Tracey Lam, Rice
  • Kim Maroon, Villanova
  • Taylor Root, Valparaiso
  • Alana Wittenburg, Drake

To aid selection, player stats were used. Rather than strictly using digs per game, a formula was developed to find an approximate efficiency. An average number of attempts received per game was figured, and by using that, an approximate efficiency was calculated. Further, a player's service receive errors were also including in the figures to come up with the final numbers.

For more information on the methods used, to provide input, or help develop these methods, please contact CVU here. Feedback is welcome.

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