Arlington Martin libero Sofia Viscuso is a skilled passer. But even if one of her passes is a bit off the mark, the senior volleyball standout doesn’t need to worry.
Junior setter Liz Carroll can turn less-than-pristine passes into well-placed sets. Carroll and Viscuso give the Lady Warriors experience at two of volleyball’s critical positions. The duo’s combination of leadership and skill was on full display in a season-opening sweep of Richland at Thomas Coliseum.
“It’s a very great advantage to have a good setter,” said Viscuso, who was first all-district as a junior. “It makes the biggest difference, because even if I make a bad pass, I know Liz will get to the ball. And she can make a great set out of it, so when we have a good pass, I know it’s going to be great right away. But even if it’s off, she can do really good things with the ball.”
It didn’t take much time for Carroll to make her presence felt. Last year in her first season on varsity, Carroll was named the District 4-6A Setter Most Valuable Player. She might be even more valuable this season. Carroll has improved her defense and she’s playing the front row, where she can make an impact at the net with dumps or tips. She played a back row rotation as a sophomore since Martin had a senior setter in 2016.
“I’ve gotten a lot better at defense and then dumping, too — playing the front row setters, because before I was running a back row rotation,” Carroll said. “So this year I hope to really capitalize on that.”
Martin coach Tracy Perez-Petersen said the biggest leap Carroll has taken is a heightened awareness of everything happening on both sides of the net. And she’s better at putting her hitters in position to make a kill.
“She’s gained knowledge of how to run the floor better,” Perez-Petersen said. “She’s got really good court sense. She’s got a really good knowledge of what’s going on on the other side of the net and putting hitters in good situations, to give them one-on-one situations. She does a really nice job of moving the ball around.”
Carroll’s not the only Martin player who has stepped up her game. Viscuso, who was named all-tournament at nationals over the summer, feels more comfortable on the court in her second season as the Lady Warriors’ libero. Viscuso was a defensive specialist as a sophomore before taking on the leadership role of libero as a junior.
“I think I’ve definitely developed more as a player during club and offseason, especially playing with these girls more you get more comfortable,” Viscuso said. “So I feel like I have grown into this position a lot more than where I was last year at this time.”
Among Viscuso’s responsibilities are talking to people on the back row and talking to hitters about where to place the ball. She also must communicate with her setter about where the ball is. Carroll said they have no trouble receiving Viscuso’s message during a game.
“She’s the loudest on the court,” Carroll said. “As the libero, that’s very good.”
As libero and setters go, Martin’s very good – and that should give the Lady Warriors plenty of confidence to take on a stacked district. “I’m really excited for our season because we have a lot of returning talent, but we have a lot of really good new talent,” Viscuso said.