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Taylor-made for job of Delaware libero

October 25, 2004

Barry Faulkner

In the growing vastness of the volleyball universe, Delaware might

still sit somewhere just beyond telescopic range.

So, it is not surprising that for all of her digging, diving and

defensive dominance, not even the libero's opposite-colored jersey

has helped Taylor Govaars stand out to the bleacher-bound neophytes

who watch the Blue Hens battle the rest of the Colonial Athletic

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Association.

"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

High.

"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

recalled.

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

role.

"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."

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