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Showing posts from October, 2014

Hitting Value Relative to Average

In baseball " sabermetrics ," various statistics have been developed to quantify a player's contribution to winning games, such as Bill James's Win Shares . Other, related statistics incorporate a comparison to possible replacement players (e.g., Wins Above Replacement  and  Value Over Replacement Player ). Some of these statistics have been carried over into other sports (e.g., Wins Shares for basketball ). However, to my knowledge, these kinds of statistics have not been developed for volleyball. Winning at volleyball encompasses many skills: serving, passing, setting, hitting, and blocking. There has not been enough volleyball statistical work, in my judgment, to attempt an all-encompassing metric analogous to Win Shares, WAR, or VORP at this time. With the aim of eventually taking us toward Volleyball VORP (or some such term), I have decided to focus on one skill for the moment, the important ability to hit for kills without committing attack errors (hitting t

Rare Hitting Feat Powers UCLA Over Oregon

UCLA had two players hit at least .400 on at least 20 spike attempts each, en route to a four-game win over Oregon. As shown in the box score , Karsta Lowe hit .473 for the Bruins, based on 33 kills and 7 attack errors on 55 swings, whereas teammate Reily Buechler registered a .429 hitting percentage with 13 kills and only 1 miscue in 28 attempts. I don't comprehensively track all matches nationally, but a team having two of its players reach the .400/20 mark in the same match  appears to be pretty rare . So much of a slugfest was this match that Oregon nearly matched UCLA's accomplishment. The Ducks' Martenne Bettendorf met the criteria (.500, 12-1-22), with teammate Naya Crittenden falling three hitting attempts short (.412 , 9-2-17). All four of the above players hit from the outside, either as traditional outside-hitters who attack from the  left side of the front row, or as "opposite" hitters, who attack from the right side (the name deriving fro

B1G Upsets Highlight Weekend's Women's Play

.310 hitting percentage, 13 total team blocks (compared to 8 for the opponent), and a nearly 1-to-1 ratio of service aces to errors (6/8).  This does not look like the statistics of a losing team in a match, especially when that team is Penn State, playing at home in State College. Yet, if you consult the box score of Saturday's match between No. 15 Illinois* and the No. 5 Nittany Lions, you'll find that Penn State most certainly did lose with the above stats. The Illini hit just a bit better than the Lions, .315 to .310, in pulling the four-game upset (26-24, 16-25 , 25-23, 25-22). The gaudy hitting numbers produced by Penn State in the early weeks of the season  made only a cameo appearance vs. Illinois, with PSU putting together a .471 percentage in Game 2; the team's hitting percentage ranged between .250-.289 in the other three games. Frosh middle Haleigh Washington led Penn State with a .538 hitting percentage on 14 kills and 0 errors, on 26 swings. Illinois

As Goes Lowe...

In one of the marquee matches of this past weekend, the Washington Huskies upped their overall record to 15-0 with a comeback from two games down against UCLA. Scores were 18-25, 24-26 , 25-17, 25-20, 15-10. With the hot hitting of 6-foot-4 senior OH Karsta Lowe pacing the Bruins this season, I was curious how well she attacked in each of the five games vs. the Huskies. Lowe hit an uncharacteristically low .143 for the entire match, with 28 kills and 19 attack errors on 63 swings. Particular players' game-specific hitting percentages are not available from standard box scores, but play-by-play sheets, such as the one for UCLA-UW , can at least give us a player's kills and hitting errors by game (only final dispositions of plays are listed, so spike attempts kept in play don't appear). As shown in the following chart, I used the play-by-play to tabulate Lowe's kills and attack errors in each of the five games (you can click on the graphic to enlarge it). Not sur