Rosado fills big defensive role for Gophers as libero

The sophomore has recorded 186 digs in the 2015 season thus far in 44 sets played.

Minnesota sophomore Dalianliz Rosado bumps the ball back to NDSU Sept. 12, 2015 at the Sports Pavilion.

Joe Sulik, Daily File Photo

Minnesota sophomore Dalianliz Rosado bumps the ball back to NDSU Sept. 12, 2015 at the Sports Pavilion.

Emily Polglaze

Despite standing at 5 feet, 9 inches, the third-shortest height on the Gophers volleyball team, sophomore Dalianliz Rosado is making a big impact. 
 
Size aside, Rosado is easy to pick out from the rest of her teammates because she wears a different color jersey, a sign of a role she’s filled well so far this season.
 
Rosado is Minnesota’s primary libero, or defensive specialist, and has played in every set so far this year.
 
“I pass and dig, but I also let my teammates know what the plan is in the back row,” Rosado said. “Before every single play I have to tell them, ‘OK, against this hitter we’re going to do this, against another one we’ll start here.’ And that’s basically my job.”
 
Rosado is in charge of the team’s back row and usually takes control of the ball right away, making big slides and saves to keep the play moving. 
 
Though her position always required mental quickness and the ability to make big plays, Rosado has still sharpened her defense quite a bit since her rookie season. 
 
Rosado is currently averaging 4.23 digs per set compared to 2.74 last year. 
 
In her 108 sets as a freshman, Rosado had 296 digs, but this year through this season’s first 44 sets, she already has 186.
 
Rosado said some of her improvement could be attributed to learning a new style of play in the United States — where she’s only lived since last year. 
 
“I’ll say here, there’s more fundamental skill,” Rosado said. “The volleyball is the same, but those skills are different than they are back home.”
 
A native of Morovis, Puerto Rico, Rosado visited the University of Minnesota for a volleyball camp before committing and was determined to come back. 
 
Rosado committed to the Gophers in April 2014 and made the move to the Midwest shortly after. 
 
Though still working on her English and getting used to her new life in Minnesota, Dalianliz didn’t make the adjustment alone.
 
Senior captain Daly Santana grew up in Corozal, Puerto Rico, about 11 miles from Rosado’s Morovis. 
 
Rosado said the two have known each other since they were 8 years old and now live together on campus.
 
“It’s been great,” Rosado said. “We’re pretty close. She’s a great player and has helped me in everything that she can. She made my first year easier.”
 
Santana said even though she came to Minnesota first, it’s been nice to have a familiar face around to remind her of home. 
 
“We do things we would usually do there, like cooking and music,” Santana said. “It’s kind of like our little Puerto Rican home.”
 
Following Santana’s lead, Rosado has received a couple honors that are indicative of the success she’s had in her second year.
 
After achieving a career high for digs in a match with 27 against North Carolina earlier this month, Rosado was named Co-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.
 
The following weekend at the Diet Coke Classic, Rosado secured a spot on the All-Tournament Team after a match-high 20 digs against the University of Central Florida.
 
“I think her best is yet to come,” head coach Hugh McCutcheon said. “We have high expectations of her, and I hope she has high expectations for herself. We’re certainly glad
that she’s performing at the level she is currently.”