The Life of a Libero: Aleeyah Galdeira

The Life of a Libero: Aleeyah Galdeira

The Life of a Libero: Aleeyah Galdeira
September 06
13:00 2019

In Waimanalo, Hawaii on the island of Oahu, freshman libero Aleeyah Galdeira grew up playing both indoor and beach volleyball. Her mother and father introduced her to the sport as a child and encouraged her to play. In the end, volleyball was the first sport Galdeira loved and the one she decided to stick with.

Galdeira attended Kamehameha High School, where she won a state title as the libero on the volleyball team. Along with playing indoor at the high school level, Galdeira played for a club team (Rainbow Volleyball Club) and participated in multiple beach volleyball tournaments. While on her club team, Galdeira and her team placed fifth in the Far Western Qualifier hosted by the Northern California Volleyball Association (NCVA), where they competed against dozens of club teams from around the United States.

A defensive specialist, also known as a libero, dedicates their efforts to the back row of the volleyball court. Rather than being an offensive position, like a middle or outside hitter, the defensive specialist focuses on digging and recovering hits coming from the opposing team. Often, they’re the shortest players on the court, sprinting and diving to make saves.

Galderia said that while she enjoys playing both indoor and beach volleyball, the differences were stark.

“Things aren’t so technical with beach volleyball,” Galdeira said. “You can just be creative with the way you do things.”

Galderia is no stranger to success in qualifying tournaments. In 2015, Galdeira placed third in the Aloha Juniors Tournament doubles competition. Two years later, Galdeira placed second in the 2017 Wakiki Premier Ocean Sports Festival Duke Oceanfest in the Under-18 category. In the gold bracket for The Zippy’s 5th Annual Hawai’i Prep Beach Volleyball State Championship, Galdeira finished No. 2.

Her RVC coach introduced her to Andrew Palileo, North Texas’ head volleyball coach. Galdeira’s placement abilities was why Palileo decided to recruit her.

“Her ball control was one of the things we look at for the [defensive specialist],” Palileo said.

During the preseason, Galderia practiced under Palileo for the first time. She said that after working with him, she developed respect for her new head coach and his abilities.

“In order to play as a team we all have to be on the same page and do things the way Palileo wants us to do it and go back to our individual style of plays,” Galdeira said.

Galdeira noted that there were differences between Hawaii and Texas, including the weather, activities and urban life. Despite these changes, she was able to adapt to Denton quickly.

“It was hard in the beginning, during summer,” Galdeira said. “It got easier because the chemistry on the team is really good.”

Palileo noticed a difference in her style of play and attributes it to a varying style of volleyball that comes from the 50th state.

“She has played the game for a long time,’’ Palileo said. “She has a perspective from Hawaii and just the way they play over there defensively.”

Senior libero Olivia Petnicki has taken all of the younger defensive specialists, like Palileo, under her wing. She said she took inspiration from Galdeira’s game into her own performance.

“I really like how calm she is when she plays,” Petnicki said. “I try to take some of that into my game, too.”

During North Texas’s match against Illinois State, she played against another member of her club volleyball team, Paige Hilliard, redshirt freshman outside hitter.

Leading up to the North Texas Invite, Galderia was battling injury. However, she was able to get healthy and earn playing time against Pepperdine. She recorded three assists, which was second on the team after junior setter Kaleigh Skopal (26). Their 3-2 victory over Pepperdine gave the Mean Green their first victory of the season.

Galdeira played in the matchup against Tulsa and again recorded the second-most assists, with four. She tallied 10 digs to help North Texas win 3-1.

Galdeira will have another chance to earn playing time in the Cal Poly Invitational on Sept. 5-7 as North Texas faces off against No. 23 Cal Poly, San Jose State and Wichita State.

Featured Image: Alleyah Galdeira celebrating after UNT scores against Illinois State on August 30. Photo by Zach Thomas

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Rachael Sanders

Rachael Sanders

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