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RB libero Fieseler stars without the spotlight

RIVERSIDE — It’s not often that a libero has a hard jump serve, but Jake Fieseler isn’t the typical libero.

Fieseler started his volleyball career as an outside hitter, but moved to defense because, as he put it, he wasn’t a very consistent hitter.

The Riverside Brookfield senior is the do-it-all player for the Bulldogs. He can dig tough balls out, spark a scoring run with his wicked topspin serve, make sets and, in a pinch, could even switch back to outside hitter.

“He can play any position, but he is a great defender,” said RB coach Dan Bonarigo. “He really embodies what that position is about, somebody who knows the game real well, can do other things but is so good defensively you have to have him at that position. He could easily step in and be one of my outside hitters and we wouldn’t skip a beat.”

As a former defensive player himself, Bonarigo puts a lot of emphasis on that position and the Bulldogs’ ability to play sound defense. That’s why Fieseler is so key to RB’s success.

Fieseler leads RB in both digs and aces. He learned his sharp, dipping serve from his older brother, Gordon, who also played at RB and is currently playing on the club team at St. Louis University.

“When it gets hot then it’s good,” Fieseler said.

Aces are fun, but a libero has to relish the defensive side of the game. Fieseler added that liberos have to have a different mentality as well.

“I feel like you have to be humble to play it because you don’t really get any attention because all you do is dig,” he said. “I like really hard hits just going straight down and getting it up is a really good feeling.”

Fieseler and the Bulldogs brought a 10-4 record into Tuesday’s match at Fenton. RB most recently placed fourth at the Rolling Meadows Invite on Saturday. They picked up pool play wins over Addison Trail, a Rolling Meadows JV team and Maine West before falling to St. Viator and the host Mustangs in placement matches.

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