Years before joining the Georgia volleyball team, Kendall Glover was a child star living a double life.
She appeared on Nickelodeon, the MTV Video Music Awards, the popular TV show "Glee" and the Paula Abdul reality show "Live to Dance” in 2009-2011.
Glover, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, was extremely involved in dancing, which helped her get some small roles on television. But as she grew up, she started to fall in love with a new sport, ultimately choosing volleyball over dance.
She went from being a performer that was the center of attention to what she described as the “little guy in the back” in the position of libero in volleyball.
A libero is a player who specializes in defense that can go in for players in the back row without costing the team any substitutions.
“The libero is the leader of the back row,” Glover said. “My job is to direct traffic and talk to the blockers and defensive players so I can set the ball up for the setter.”
Though this position is extremely important to the team since it controls the rest of the play, liberos tend to get less attention than the hitters.
The lack of glory the libero receives may be annoying to some, but Glover said it doesn't bother her.
“I’m not playing the sport to get the glory of the accolades, like when my teammates win freshman of the week or we get a huge win that’s enough for me,” Glover said. “I want to set the ball up for them and make sure I can do everything to help them get a kill.”
The position proves itself to be very technically challenging since the precision of every pass is crucial to get a good set.
“It’s such a skill position you can’t hustle your way out of it,” head coach Tom Black said. “You really have to trust your feel and your touch, and you have to get a million reps so you can play on feel automatically. It’s not like a hitter where you can just grunt and swing through it, it’s a lot more technical.”
It is her responsibility to get well-controlled passes to the setter, Meghan Donovan, so that the hitters can get the best possible set.
“I think it’s important for the libero and setter to always work together because always on the court since we are two people who don’t really get subbed out a lot,” said Donovan. “It’s always important for us to be communicating so if she wants to take a ball that’s close to me, I let her.”
Glover also is the designated second setter, which means that she gives the hitters well-placed sets if the setter passes the first ball.
“Kendall does a good job [at setting] and always makes sure she gets the second ball if the setter takes the first,” hitter Kayla Rivera said. “She always lets me know before the play that she’s got me if the ball is out-of-system."
Glover faces obstacles that make her role harder as a libero, but her teammates said she does everything necessary to help the team.
“There are a lot of balls she has to take in different situations that aren’t really close to her, but she really runs it and calls people off,” Donovan said. “Also, if she doesn’t want to take it, she yells someone else’s name so it’s all about reading the play, which she does a really good job of.”