Texas Tech professor Alan Reifman uses statistics and graphic arts to illuminate developments in U.S. collegiate and Olympic volleyball. [For archives of this blog and extensive links to other volleyball sites, please click the three-line icon in upper-right corner.]
Below is a hitting allocation chart I made for Game 2 of last Friday night's Stanford-Washington match . The Cardinal took both this particular game/set and the match as a whole, 10-25 , 28-26, 10-25 , 26-24, 15-7. The chart shows which players took hitting attempts off of serve-receipt, from where on the court, at what angle, and with what result. An introduction to the notation is available from this earlier posting in which I introduced the chart. One new piece of terminology today is that an offensive "reboot" is when a spike attempt is blocked back to the attacking team, which then starts over. For this chart, I tried harder to catch the names of the specific players taking each swing, but I was not always successful. You may click on the graphic to enlarge it. I don't think there are really any big surprises here. Stanford went heavily to middle-blocker Carly Wopat, both in the middle and on the slide play to the right, and she produced several kills. Was
Today, for my second analysis using Texas Tech internal team data, I look at the relationship between quality of the team's passes on serve receipt, on the one hand, and the location and success of the resulting hit attempts, on the other. Again, my thanks to head coach Don Flora and assistant Jojit Coronel for their willingness to share the data and answer any questions I have. (Here's a link to my first analysis of the Texas Tech data, which focused on side-out rates in different rotations.) The better the pass a team can make on serve receipt, the easier it will be for the setter to get to the ball and, hence, the better should be the set. A good set should then increase the hitter's likelihood of achieving a kill. A further objective for many teams is to set the ball for the middle hitter, to quicken the offense. Other common plays involve high-arching sets to the outside, which give the other team time to get their blockers in place. In general, teams collect more
This past weekend featured as much televised women's collegiate volleyball as I can remember seeing over a similar period. A big reason is the new Pac 12 Network and its extensive coverage of volleyball, but ESPN 2 and ESPN-U also played a part. With so many matches available, I decided to test a new type of chart to track teams' hitting allocations off of serve receipt, including the locations and angles of the spike attempts. I did something similar for a UCLA-Texas match in the 2010 NCAA women's tournament, based on video coverage from the Longhorns' website using an "end-zone" camera. Here's a link to that previous analysis. Traditional television coverage uses a sideline camera (for the most part), however, so I developed a new graphing approach using this perspective. One benefit of mapping the locations and angles of spike attempts is that doing so provides richer information than a typical box score. For example, a box score would list how many
On this week's episode of the Internet-radio show The Net Live , a spirited discussion broke out on the merits of this year's new NCAA women's rule expanding the number of substitutions from 12 to 15 per game/set (see link to the archived broadcasts in the right-hand column). Substitution policy clearly has analytic implications, thus making it a worthy topic for VolleyMetrics; I provide no statistics in this write-up. This July 31 article focusing on the Nebraska program provides a lot of background perspective. A key impetus for the rule change appears to be the opportunity to get more players into matches. In terms of volleyball training, the substitution issue raises questions of player specialization vs. well-roundedness. As the article notes: With 15 substitutions, coaches will likely not have to worry about reaching their limit and can take out their top hitters when it is time to rotate to the back row, replacing them with passing and serving specialists...
I attended last Saturday afternoon's University of Texas at Texas Tech match. The Longhorns won 3-0, but the Red Raiders were very competitive in two of the games/sets, as reflected in the 25-16, 25-23, 25-22 score. My focus was on the Longhorns' blocking -- how they lined up in their rotations and with which combinations were they able to stuff the Red Raiders for points. Texas's front lines in their six rotations (A through F), depicted schematically with the players' faces to the net, are shown in the graphic below. You may click on the graphic to enlarge it. The figure pertains only to Game 2, in which the Longhorns achieved 6 of their total 14 team blocks in the match (Texas Tech had only 3 team blocks total in the match). The Texas uniform numbers in the figure correspond to actual players, as follows: 1 Kat Bell (MB, 6-1, soph) 5 Molly McCage (MB, 6-3, frosh) 10 Haley Eckerman (OH, 6-3, soph) 12 Hannah Allison (S, 5-11, junior) 14 Sha'Dare McNeal (RS