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Showing posts from April, 2011

2011 "Off the Block" Men's Blocking Award Announced

The winner of the 2011 men's collegiate Blocker of the Year award, bestowed by the blog Off the Block, has been announced. It is Futi Tavana of BYU. I was a member of the voting panel of coaches and writers, with each of us being able to vote for our top three candidates and the winner being determined on a point system. In my previous message (directly below the present one), I explained both the statistical process I followed in arriving at my votes and the particular players for whom I voted.

As shown in the following table, my vote for first place matched dead-on with the larger panel, my vote for third was in the same ballpark (or in this case, gym) as the panel, and my vote for second was nowhere close to the panel!

Player                             My Vote  Official Results   Futi Tavana (BYU)               1st                 1st            Steven Shandrick (USC)     2nd             Tie 10th       Austin Zahn (USC)             3rd              Tie 4th       
Why did Shandri…

My Ballot for Men's College Blocker of the Year

The men's college volleyball blog Off the Block has started an award for the top (what else?) blocker of the year. I was invited to be a voter and agreed to do so. Naturally, I decided to apply statistical techniques to help me determine my votes (for first, second, and third place). The simplest thing to do would be to examine the official NCAA men's statistics on blocks per game (set) and just take the leaders. However, several factors make the unfiltered, mechanical use of this statistic unacceptable to me, thus requiring procedural adjustments to make the blocking statistics more meaningful.

REFINING THE ANALYSIS

First and foremost of variables to consider is the varying quality of competition. The Mountain-Pacific Sports Federation is the dominant conference, with teams from the MPSF (or its West Coast forerunners) winning 38 of the 41 NCAA men's volleyball titles that have been contested to date (further 32 of the 41 finals have been all-MPSF/forerunner affairs). Th…

USC Men Get Second Win Over Stanford

Playing at home, the Stanford men made things much more competitive against No. 1 USC last night than in the teams' first meeting back in February, but the Trojans still prevailed, 25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 25-22. As noted in the linked article, "The Cardinal outhit USC (.305 to .290) and had more digs (45 to 39), but the Trojans posted 14 blocks (to Stanford's 6.5) and served 5 aces."

Among the teams' big hitters I discussed in yesterday's preview (below), the offensive star was USC's Tony Ciarelli, with a .500 attack percentage (21 K-4 E-34 TA). Steven Shandrick, a 6-7 middle-blocker amidst an attack oriented toward the outsides, added a .474 performance for the Trojans (10-1-19). Stanford managed to contain two of USC's other weapons, Murphy Troy (.059) and Tri Bourne (.222), but fell victim to the Trojans' depth and balance (box score).

For Stanford, Brad Lawson (.297, 17-6-37) and Spencer McLachlin (.267, 14-6-30) made solid contributions, with Er…