We are well into the season now and have had plenty of time to see so much talent on display. So, it seems like it is about the perfect time again to take a look at some of the top college volleyball liberos.
This list is far from easy to compile, as defensive stats can be really skewed for a number of reasons. For example, the level of competition, a strong block, etc. There are also a lot of really talented liberos in college volleyball, so, I capped the list at 10, and looked at the top liberos on ranked teams right now.
CC McGraw — Minnesota
McGraw of course makes this list, considering she has been one of the top liberos in the nation for the past few years. The 2019 All-American is currently averaging 4.82 digs per set on a Gopher team that has one of the toughest schedules in the country. She just posted 32 digs in a win over Michigan and anchors the Minnesota defense that has a .155 opponent hitting percentage.
Abby Bottomley — Creighton
Abby Bottomley's numbers should blow you away. First of all, she is averaging 5.71 digs per set ... that is not a typo. That is fifth in the nation, on a ranked team that is off to its best start ever and one that swept the reigning champs this year. She has been named to multiple all-tournament teams this year and she is a 16-time conference defensive player of the week, including two in the Big East. Bottomley spent her first four seasons at High Point where she was named the Big South Player of the Year last season, as a libero, Big South Co-Woman of the Year and Big South Female Athlete of the Year.
Last season she averaged 5.38 digs per set and topped Big South Conference in aces (28) for a second consecutive year. She also ranks second nationally among active players with in career digs. At Creighton, she also leads the team in aces with 20. This list of accolades is long. Hats off to Abby Bottomley.
Elena Oglivie — Stanford
Elena Oglivie has done a phenomenal job as the Cardinal libero this year. She is averaging 4.68 digs per set which is really impressive and she has already won Pac-12 defensive player of the week. She too is playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation this year as Stanford faced six ranked opponents during its non-conference schedule.
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Kylie Murr — Ohio State
Kylie Murr was a no brainer for this list. This season she is averaging 4.74 digs per set. She led the Big Ten, one of the toughest conferences in volleyball, as a FRESHMAN in 2019 in digs and digs per set. She also set the Ohio State single-season program records for those stats in the same year as Ohio State excelled as a volleyball program.
Elena Scott — Louisville
Next up is Louisville's Elena Scott, as the Cardinals are in the midst of one of their most successful seasons ever. She is just a freshman this year and is anchoring a top-3 undefeated team with 4.15 digs per set. This is also for one of the top blocking teams in the nation, which should naturally lower her numbers. But… she’s still up there.
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Lauren Barnes — Wisconsin
Lauren Barnes is back this season after earning the highest All-American honor of any libero last season when her team made it back to the national semifinals. Her numbers are slightly lower this season, but those aren’t the end all be all, Barnes has proved herself enough to make this list. Last season she led the team and ranked third in the Big Ten with 4.50 digs per set.
Jena Otec — Purdue
We have another 2020 All-American that returned this season in Jena Otec. Last year she was Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, so yes, she is one of the top liberos in the nation. Otec is averaging 4.17 digs per set for the Boilermakers, who are ranked in the top four this season.
Nalani Iosia — Texas
Texas has an incredible block, but Iosia still averages four digs per set and anchors a great defense for the top-ranked Longhorns. She stepped into some big shoes this year and is performing great. The Texas defense led by Iosia allows a .160 opponent hitting percentage.
Zoe Fleck — UCLA
Over in the Pac-12 another libero makes the list with Zoe Fleck at UCLA. Fleck has plenty of accolades as well — she earned Pac-12 Libero of the Year, and AVCA Honorable Mention All-American last season. This year she is averaging just over four digs per set.
Brynna DeLuzio — Colorado
Brynna DeLuzio is second highest on this list in digs per set with 4.85 and has won Pac-12 defensive player of the week this year. Colorado just upset Utah in a straight sweep — and DeLuzio posted 18 digs in the win. She has played multiple positions for the Buffs in the past few years and last season, she led the team with 223 digs and had 226 assists and 18 aces.