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Silliman is M-Leeds defensive specialist

Freshman thrives in the libero position

September 18, 2009
Matt Mullally

Most volleyball players cringe at the thought of a getting in front of a well-hit ball cruising at a sharp downward angle toward the floor.

Leeds freshman McKenzie Silliman thrives on it.

The libero is often sprawled out on the court, to dig out balls to keep points alive for her Minnewaukan-Leeds team.

Silliman only plays in the back row and her role is often to handle opponent's serves and balls that get through the front row blockers.

M-L coach Lindsey Illerbrunn said it takes a player who is quick and can anticipate well just exaclty where the ball is going to go.

"She seems to always be in the right spot,' Illerbrunn said.

Silliman likes her defensive role, knowing it's key to making the team successful. "It's where I can best help out,' McKenzie said.

She had a season-high 31 digs in the Lions' five-set victory over Rugby last week.

In addition to digging out balls for the setter to handle, she's one of the team leaders in serving percentage. It's an opportunity to produce some instant offense for the Lions.

Admittedly, playing varsity last season as an eighth grader was a bit nerve-wracking. However, she's more comfortable on the court now and in time will only get better with more playing time.

"She's probably the most consistent player in our lineup right now,' Illerbrunn said.

And judging by her role, one of the most important.



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