Patrick Reusse
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There are three Rosado sisters from Morovis, Puerto Rico, with a talent for playing volleyball. The oldest is Dalianliz, the senior defensive specialist for the Gophers. The younger sisters are Yavianliz, a junior at Bradley University, and Yaidaliz, a 15-year-old collegiate prospect and in high school back home in Puerto Rico.

A reporter interviewed Dalianliz this week and got right to it: “What’s with the ‘liz’ in these names?’’

Rosado smiled and then explained:

Daliana Otero and Carlos Javier Rosado are the parents. Mom had a desire to connect their names with the daughters as they came along. There was an Aunt Brendalis in the family who served as an inspiration:

Dalianliz for Mom, and Yavianliz and Yaidaliz, both tied into Dad’s name of Javier.

What happened last week was the entire family was able to assemble for the first time to watch Dalianliz play volleyball for the Gophers. The family had been here in smaller groups previously during her four-year career.

“It was great; my mom cleaned up the apartment, and it hasn’t looked that good in months, and my dad cooked for Thanksgiving,” Rosado said. “He is such a good cook that he should be a chef.”

There was considerable comfort to be found in this reunion beyond spruced-up accommodations and outstanding food. There was also an assurance that life was slowly returning to normal after the parents and Yaidaliz had gone through the devastation of Hurricane Maria along with the 32,000 residents of Morovis.

There is an emphasis on the word “slowly” in that sentence.

“They still don’t have electricity,’’ Dalianliz said. “And water is still a problem for many people in our town.’’

Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on Sept. 20 with 155-mph winds and dumped 30 inches of rain on the first day in some areas. Morovis is located 40 miles southwest of San Juan in a region called the Central Mountains.

That area gained international attention when a concrete bridge over a river collapsed, stranding the occupants of San Lorenzo from the larger town of Morovis where many of the needed services are located.

“I was very upset as the hurricane headed for Puerto Rico,” Dalianliz said. “My mom tried to help me out, sending messages, ‘We’re going to be OK. Go to your classes. Play great for your team. We’re going to be OK.’ ”

Rosado first came to Minnesota as a 15-year-old for a summer camp. The obvious connection is that Daly Santana, from Corozal, Puerto Rico, and not far from Morovis, was two years ahead of Dalianliz. Santana became a Gopher in 2012 and was an All-America hitter as a senior in 2015.

“I didn’t know Daly was interested in Minnesota when I came here for camp,’’ Rosado said. “When we were young, Daly and I played against each other. I didn’t like her then.’’

That changed when they were united with the Gophers.

“I was very happy to have Daly here when I was a freshman,’’ she said. “My English was terrible. She saved me.’’

The 2014 Gophers were an inexperienced group and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998. They have followed that rebuilding with consecutive trips to the Final Four, and get started in the 2017 NCAA tournament vs. North Dakota at 7 p.m. Friday at The Pavilion.

The “liz’’ extension is only one common factor with the Rosados. In volleyball, they are all liberos, the defensive position that was introduced to volleyball in 1999 and allows that player to avoid the rules of rotation that cover others on the court.

Get this: The Gophers have played 130 matches and 472 sets in the four seasons that Rosado has been with the program. And she has played 471 sets.

Rosado had 296 digs as a freshman. Her season totals since are 539, 511 and 466.

How many times have you hit the floor as a Gopher?

“I don’t know, or care,” she said. “I love being a libero because you are always involved. And I’m a very competitive person.’’

Puerto Rico made the Olympics in women’s volleyball for the first time in 2016. Santana was on that team, and Rosado wants to join her in Puerto Rico’s effort at Olympic qualifying.

Much of Puerto Rico’s sports calendar has been canceled in the aftermath of the hurricane, including the schedule for the national volleyball team. Rosado hasn’t been home since last summer, and was asked when she plans a return.

“I will be going back right after we win the national championship,’’ Dalianliz said, and with a nod rather than a smile.

Patrick Reusse can be heard

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E-mail: preusse@startribune.com

NCAA volleyball tournament

First-round: 7 p.m. Friday Gophers vs. North Dakota