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Modest libero takes on Western Conference

Caleigh Dobie is second for digs in the conference in her rookie season on the court

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Around the University of Manitoba campus the name Dobie is well known, thanks to Brian Dobie, coach of the football team.

His daughter, Caleigh Dobie, is in the process of building her own legend, now helping to lead the Bisons women’s volleyball team through the Western Conference playoffs.

The libero — a defensive and passing specialist on the court who can sub in for a backrow player at anytime — is in her second year on the team, but it’s her rookie year on the court after sitting for most of the 2012-2013 season and learning from veteran libero, now graduate, Nicole Hall. That doesn’t mean she isn’t letting her presence be known. The 20-year-old North Kildonan native and University One student is second in the conference for digs at 3.89 per set. How does Dobie react? Modestly.

"My dad, he’s a big stats person, but I’m not that into stats," Dobie said. "I think being second in the conference for digs is really just a testament to how our team works and our work ethic but, I guess at the end of the day I can slightly be proud of myself."

Dobie does admit that because she is starting for the first time this season, it is "kind of," a big deal.

"It’s a big eye-opener coming to a season with these top hitters and whatnot, so yes I’m proud that I could accomplish this in my first season of starting," Dobie said.

Dobie’s coach Ken Bentley credits Dobie’s ability to learn from previous libero Hall, who finished her five years of eligibility last season. Bentley said Hall was one of the best and hardest-working players he has ever coached.

"Caleigh got to see that for a whole year, which I thought was critical for her development," Bentley said. "It has helped her so much for her job this year."

Bentley said the libero position is challenging. Wearing a differently coloured uniform, sticking out, and being the first contact in a rally adds a lot of pressure.

"(Dobie) has handled it really well this year," Bentley said. "The fact that she is second in digs in the conference is a testament to her season."

Dobie and her team headed into playoffs in fourth place. She said their goal is to continue to win.

"There is a lot of pressure coming but I think we’ll also rise to the occasion because we’re just that kind of team."

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