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Columbia Missourian

Position change works well for Missouri volleyball team

By JoVona Taylor
September 26, 2012 | 7:58 p.m. CDT
Sarah Meister, sophomore libero, stands ready to return her Ole Miss opponents' serve during their second game against an SEC team on Sunday.

COLUMBIA — It has been an interesting semester for Missouri volleyball player Sarah Meister.

Making the change from a freshman defensive specialist for the Tigers to a sophomore libero has challenged Meister. 

Weekend schedule

Friday's match
Texas A&M (10-2, 2-1 SEC)
at Missouri (11-3, 3-1 SEC)
WHEN: 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Hearnes Center

Sunday's match
Georgia (8-5, 2-2 SEC)
at Missouri (11-3, 3-1 SEC)
1:30 p.m.
Hearnes Center

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"This month there's been a lot that's been going on with my life," Meister said. "Especially with the team and school. I'm taking more classes for my major, and things that are happening in my personal life. It's about how you overcome those things and move forward."

Meister is majoring in journalism with an emphasis in strategic communication. She had wanted to focus more on broadcasting or magazine journalism, but realized that as a volleyball player her schedule didn't fit well with those majors, which often require large time commitments. 

Meister also has another new commitment that might limit her time even more.

In the past four games, Missouri volleyball coach Wayne Kreklow has played Meister at the libero position, which was initially the position of sophomore Jade Hayes.

“I don’t see that position right now as something that’s cut and dried,” Kreklow said.

Kreklow decided on the change after reviewing passing statistics, and the numbers came out in Meister’s favor. Kreklow said he hopes the competition will help Hayes and Meister become better players.

“I think right now, Sarah’s passing has been consistently pretty good, but Jade’s not far behind,” Kreklow said. “It’s a very competitive position.”

Hayes, now a defensive specialist for the team, says the change is what's best for the team.

“I think she is built for the role because I’m kind of tall and it’s hard to stay low all the time,” said Hayes, who is 6 feet tall. “I just think she’s doing really well, and we’re being successful in our SEC matches, so that’s all that matters.”

Although the team lost against Florida last Friday, the Tigers rebounded Sunday with a victory against LSU. Meister, who is 5-9, set a career high with 27 digs in Sunday’s game.

“Playing the position helps me get more digs and gives me the opportunity to do better,” Meister said. “But at the same time, I think it’s all about hard work and what you put into it that really makes a difference.”

The libero position allows for Meister to stay in the game for all six rotations and remain in the back row area, which allows more balls to be hit in her direction. Although positions can change at any moment in the season, Meister said her goal is to continue as the team’s libero.

“Sarah did a pretty good job when she was moved to the position,” Kreklow said. “As long as that continues, we’ll continue with Sarah at the libero position.”