Friday, September 23, 2011

Hitting Stats for Up-and-Coming Illinois

This weekend's top women's college action appears to be in Los Angeles -- where tonight Cal plays USC, and Stanford meets UCLA, before the teams switch opponents Saturday -- and in Minneapolis, where Minnesota hosts No. 3 and undefeated Illinois tonight.

I've written a ton about USC so far this season (most recently here), some about Stanford and UCLA, and a little about Cal. I've also written a lot about Minnesota, so I will concentrate on Illinois in the rest of this entry.

The Fighting Illini are 11-0, but only one match has been against a ranked team, No. 21 Dayton. The Dayton match, as well as ones against Tulsa and Louisville, went five games. Based on this Illinois pre-match release, I created the following table about the Fighting Illini's top hitters in their last six matches. Individual hitting percentages above .300 -- and there are a lot of them -- are highlighted in white font.

Hitting %
(# Attempts)
Dayton
Middle
Tenn St.
Cal Poly
 Tulsa  
Cincinnati
Louisville
M. Bartsch
OH Sr.
.197
(71)
.303
(33)
.188
(48)
.286
(49)
.417
(24)
.043
(46)
Anna Dorn
MB Fr.
.529
(17)
.571
(7)
.579
(19)
.522
(23)
.500
(8)
-.167
(6)
Erin Johnson
MB Jr.
.407
(27)
.353
(17)
.636
(22)
.591
(22)
.444
(18)
.348
(23)
Liz McMahon
OH Fr.
.500
(4)
.800
(10)
.222
(18)
.421
(19)
.556
(9)
.576
(33)
Colleen Ward
OH Sr.
.327
(55)
.385
(26)
.185
(27)
.324
(34)
.188
(16)
.311
(45)

The gaudiest hitting percentages have been put up by the two frosh, Anna Dorn and Liz McMahon. Illini coach Kevin Hambly apparently increased Dorn and McMahon's hit attempts gradually, with the latter rising to the point that she maintained a .576 percentage on 33 attempts against Louisville.

Of the two outside-hitting seniors who have been expected to lead the team, Colleen Ward, a 2010 transfer from the University of Florida, has shown greater offensive consistency in doing so than has Michelle Bartsch. Most consistent of all, arguably, has been MB Erin Johnson.

Dorn is the only Illini player within the conference's Top 10 in blocks/set (game) with 1.14, whereas two members of the Orange and Blue, Jennifer Beltran (3.85) and Bartsch (3.49), are in the Top 10 of digs/set.

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