Stanford's Brad Lawson had an incredible offensive night as the Cardinal blew out Penn State for the NCAA title, 30-25, 30-20, 30-18. Lawson, a 6-foot-7 sophomore outside hitter who was one of four players from the state of Hawaii to take the court for Stanford tonight, compiled the following line: 24 kills with only 1 hitting error, in 28 attempts, for a remarkable .821 percentage (box score). For those who don't follow volleyball closely, a hitting percentage in the .300's would be considered very good and in the .400's, outstanding. For the season (including the championship match), Lawson hit .387 (522 kills and 143 errors on 980 attempts).
This NCAA men's volleyball records page (current only through 2006) presents two championship records, for a single match and for both games of a tournament combined:
HITTING PERCENTAGE, MATCH (MIN. 15 ATTEMPTS)
.867--Jeff Nygaard, UCLA (3) vs. Ohio St. (0), 5-7-93.
HITTING PERCENTAGE, TOURNAMENT (MIN. 20 ATTEMPTS)
.788--Rick Tune, Pepperdine, 1998 (.833 vs. Princeton, 10-0/12; .762 vs. UCLA, 17-1/21).
Nygaard's record, based on a 13-0-15 line, was achieved in a semifinal match, arguably making it slightly less impressive than a comparable hitting percentage in a championship match. Also, Nygaard was a middle blocker, as was Tune.
A couple of other notes:
*Interestingly, this year Stanford also saw an .800 hitting performance on the opposite side of the net. On February 19, Pepperdine's Cory Riecks recorded a 17-1-20 night against the Cardinal.
*As a follow-up to yesterday's posting (immediately below), Penn State managed only 4.5 total team blocks against Stanford in the title match.