Sept. 13, 2006
Summer Weissing can sympathize with the offensive lineman on the Florida State football team. After all, she has more in common with her 300-pound fellow student-athletes than you may see at first glance.
While she doesn’t have someone across the net charging at her on every play, she does have an important role on the team that often goes unnoticed and comes with a lot of physical pain.
Think about it. Position players get all of the glory for touchdowns, but the linemen are rarely mentioned. The only time they get recognized is when the quarterback gets sacked because they mised a block.
Now think about the libero. With the exception of wearing a different colored jersey than the rest of the team and having an Italian name that no one can agree on the pronunciation of (for the record she pronounces it “leeb-a-row”), there’s not a whole lot of love for the spot who’s only job is to pass the ball. While the attacker is celebrating a kill, the libero is picking herself off the court, ready to dig the next ball. The only time the libero really gets recognized is when the opposing attacker whizzes a ball by them.
Believe it or not, that’s okay with Weissing. She doesn’t mind that most of the attention goes to her teammates for the plays that get you on the highlight reel, her concern is doing whatever she can to help the team win and hopefully earn an ACC Championship.
As far as liberos go, Weissing is one of the best in the ACC if not the entire country. That shouldn’t come as a surprise given the quality of athletes at Florida State, but what might surprise you is that she never played the position until she got to Tallahassee.
“Originally I was recruited her as an outside because that’s what I played in high school, but I think coach (Todd) Kress knew all along that I was going to play there,” Weissing said. “I was all for the move when he asked me, I saw it as a way to get on the floor as a freshman. I like that my teammates get recognized off the passes I make. I’m just trying to help the team win.”
Not every statistics is skewed away from the libero as Weissing has topped the team the last two seasons in digs. Her defensive effort in 2005 was the best any Seminole has ever had as she set the single-season record with 513 digs. She’s on pace to reset the career record by the time she graduates.
“Summer not only makes it easier for the setter, but she also makes it easier for the block because you know if you’re not there, Summer is going to be there covering you,” former setter turned outside hitter Jessica Skower said. “On serve receive you know if it’s going to Summer, it’s going to be a great pass.”
Florida State loyalist aren’t the only ones who think highly of Weissing. She spent the summer of 2005 playing with the USA Volleyball U-20 team at the World Championships in Turkey.
“That was such a great experience,” Weissing noted. “Every day you had to play your best just to even compete in practice. When you get a chance to play against China and some of the best teams in the world you have to play at another level and I’ve tried to use that experience to help me here.”
Even though the 2006 season is in its infancy, Weissing has already been making headlines. With 11 digs against South Alabama in the FSU Invitational she climbed into 10th place in school history.
While she won’t be the main attraction on the highlight reel, Summer Weissing will certainly get the attention of fans and opponents.