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Showing posts from October, 2008

Side-Out Statistics

Getting a side-out (or siding-out) refers to winning a rally on the opponent's serve. Back when the rules specified that a team could score a point only on its own serve, the importance of a side-out was that it earned a team the right to serve. Then, with the switch several years ago to rally scoring -- where the winning team of each rally earns a point, regardless of who served -- siding out was worth an immediate point, along with giving the serve back to the team that won the last rally.

Aside from the scoring aspect, success at siding-out can also be seen as a marker of a team's proficiency at running its offense, which the receiving team gets the first chance to do. Side-out rate can tell us how well, by and large, a team receives serve and passes the ball to the setter so that he or she can make a good set to the chosen hitter, and with what success the team's hitters put the ball away. I say "by and large," because other factors will affect a team…

Pac-10 Competitive Balance Increases

Competitive balance continues to grow within Pac-10 women's volleyball. Stanford, Washington, UCLA, and USC have been national powers over the last several seasons and beyond. Cal made the Final Four last season and is doing well this season, and Arizona has made some noise in the past.

This weekend, the two Oregon schools gave notice that they shouldn't be overlooked, either. The University of Oregon knocked off both UCLA (Friday) and USC (Saturday) in Eugene, allowing only a single game (or as they now call it, "set") in the two matches combined. Oregon State, playing in Corvallis, likewise beat USC, but lost to UCLA, albeit in five games.

What really caught my attention for purposes of this blog, however, is the statistical inclination of the person who writes about volleyball for the UO's GoDucks.com athletics website. As seen in this article on the Oregon-USC match, the writer zeroes in on the huge difference between the teams' hitting percentages a…