"There's not much recognition," the 5-foot-10 senior said of her
inconspicuously consistent contributions to a program she has helped
become a postseason contender since her arrival from Newport Harbor
"Some of the people who come to watch us play have never even seen
a volleyball match before. A lot of people here just don't understand
much about the game."
Govaars said her position's unique uniform -- liberos, to help
officials ensure they adhere to the rules limiting the position's
actions, wear home jerseys when the team plays away and vice versa --
added to the confusion of one such spectator.
"She asked me if I had forgotten my [matching] jersey," Govaars
But toiling in the shadows is not unfamiliar to this former
Sailor, who performed a supporting role to the likes of April Ross
and Krista Dill on championship high school teams, before basking in
the spotlight as a senior in the fall of 2000.
As a go-to outside hitter, Govaars was the 2000 Newport-Mesa
Player of the Year, while also earning All-CIF and All-Sea View
League laurels. She led Coach Dan Glenn's Tars in kills, blocks and
digs and Glenn also identified her as the team's top passer.
Govaars spent her freshman season at Delaware as an outside
hitter, but a knee injury helped prompt a change to a more defensive
"I enjoy it," she said of the position that requires her to cover
more than 25% of the court against opposing attackers. "I have from
the center of the court to one sideline and from the 10-foot line to
the endline. I've always loved to play defense, dating back to my
days at Newport Harbor and with the Orange County Volleyball Club. I
was always excited to be in the back row."
Govaars, 21, credits Glenn, as well as former club coach Charlie
Brande for helping instill her desire to defend.
She has utilized that drive to move into fifth on Delaware's
all-time dig list (1,450, including 456 so far this year), with eight
regular-season matches remaining.
"She's definitely the best all-around libero in our conference,"
Delaware Coach Bonnie Kenny said. "Her ability to serve, pass and
defend makes her a major contributor to our team."
The Blue Hens are 16-6, 5-3 in conference after winning 11, 9 and
10 the last three seasons, respectively.
"We're in third place and the top four go to the conference
tournament," said Govaars, a family and community services major who
is set to graduate in the spring.
Govaars said she has cherished her time on the court, in the
classroom and in the Newark community, but looks forward to returning
to Newport Beach to pursue a career as a high school counselor.
"I remember telling my fifth-grade soccer coach I was going to
play college volleyball," she said. "I'm so happy that I came here
and I love the friends that I've made."