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Showing posts from January, 2020

Stanford Sweeps Wisconsin for NCAA Women's Title, Aided by Multifaceted Blocking Game

With Stanford's win over Wisconsin for the NCAA national women's championship about a month ago coming so easily, 25-16, 25-17, 25-20, it was hard at first to come up with a statistical angle. The Cardinal, led by 6-foot-6 senior outside-hitter Kathryn Plummer's torrid spiking (.459 on 22 kills and 5 errors on 37 attempts), outhit the Badgers, .358-.152 ( box score ). Madeleine Gates, a Stanford graduate transfer who finished her degree at UCLA, also came up big (.529, 10-1-17). I've already written a lot on Plummer's hitting, however, so I wanted to focus on something else. Then, an idea from five years ago popped into my mind. As I wrote  in February 2015 then-Penn State men's assistant coach Jay Hosack (now head men's coach at George Mason) noted on the Internet-radio show The Net Live that, "blocking should be evaluated more broadly than via direct stuff-blocks for points." For example, blockers could slow the ball down from a spike attemp