Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cal Beats Stanford; Reader Remarks on Cardinal Hitting Errors

No. 1 Cal has defeated No. 2 Stanford in Berkeley tonight, in a battle of the unbeatens.

UPDATE: Reader "Hobbes" left a note in the Comments section (below) focusing on Stanford's high rate of hitting errors, but with an interesting twist. Yes, hitting errors were key in Game 3 (after the teams had split the first two), as the Cardinal went from being ahead 10-5 to losing 25-16.

Perhaps even more telling than comparing the teams' overall hitting errors -- Stanford 31, Cal 17, for the match as a whole -- is Hobbes's distinction between unforced and other errors. Eleven of Stanford's errors were blocks by Cal (balls that rocketed back down to the Cardinal side of the floor for immediate Golden Bear points), so 20 of Stanford's errors (31-11) were what Hobbes would call unforced -- spiking the ball out of bounds, into the net, etc. Cal suffered 12 blocks to Stanford, leaving the Bears with just 5 unforced errors (17-12). Here is a copy of the box score.

Focusing on the simple difference (subtraction), Stanford committed 14 more overall errors than Cal, and 15 more unforced errors, essentially no difference. As a ratio, however, 31/17 = 1.82, whereas 20/5 = 4.00. This is all post hoc, of course, and so the ratio looks more diagnostic because we know Cal won.

As some readers may recall, at the end of the 2009 women's college season, I analyzed the merits of Karch Kiraly's assertion that getting blocked was somehow a "better" kind of error to commit than hitting the ball out of bounds. The approach I took is certainly not the only possible one, but I did not find much support for the Kiraly hypothesis.


hobbes said...

Unforced hitting errors: Stanford 20, Cal 5. Match over.

Arnold van Ree said...

I am missing the number of points scored by hitting the ball using the block.
Some players specialise in using the block for scoring.

The number of opportunities do increase by hitting the block: block out, block and playable for your team, net mistakes by the block, possible errors by the defending team's next actions

Therefore indeed "the better mistake".