Olympic volleyball question

While at work today, I caught a few bits of a women’s volleyball match on TV between the Chinese and American teams. I happened to notice that one woman on each team was wearing a primarily white jersey, which contrasted with the colored uniforms of her teammates (red for the Chinese, blue for the Americans).

What does this white uniform signify? I don’t suppose it’s anything like a soccer goalie wearing a distinctive jersey, but then maybe it is. At first I thought that the white jersey was for the server (or whatever the player who serves the ball is called in volleyball), but then I recalled that the position of server rotated from one player to the next after each point, at least back in high school gym class. Watching the match more closely, it did appear that a different player served the ball after each point.

So what’s up with the white jerseys?

Those are “liberos”. The uniform isn’t necessarily white, but it has to stand out from the other five players.

The libero is a backline specialist. S/he never rotates to the front line. They are defensive specialists. The position was designed to give shorter players more playing time so they would not have to be substituted out when they got to the front line.

Thanks :slight_smile:

Hmmm. I played volleyball in college and the white jersey belonged to the setter, a specialized position that gets the ball on the second touch and sets up the attack. In a standard 5-1 formation, the other five people try to pass the ball to the setter and the different uniform helps you to easily see where to pass the ball. As opposed to what Bob T said, the way we played, everyone has to rotate to the front line. But then again, we tended to lose a lot.

Volleyball changes its rules a lot

Libero, Libero, Libero