Nerdly Nebraska.

2019-2020 HuskerGeek Ratings Leaders

Sport School Rating
ViPR D1 Volleyball Stanford 1,839.6298

Football ohio st 12.7316
Men's Basketball kansas 12.7368
Women's Basketball south carolina 13.4324
Baseball ucla 12.9478
Softball ucla 10.9838
Ice Hockey north dakota 10.7002
Men's Lacrosse syracuse 7.8562
Women's Lacrosse north carolina 10.7252
Men's Soccer georgetown 10.7279
Women's Soccer stanford 13.0262
Men's Volleyball byu 11.1006
Women's Volleyball stanford 11.3000
Field Hockey north carolina 12.2787

Author: HuskerGeek

Advanced Rate Statistics for NCAA Women’s Volleyball

Written By: HuskerGeek

Or Why Per Set Statistics are Bullsh*t

Pop quiz.

Question 1: How many points is a set in NCAA Division 1 Volleyball?

If you said twenty-five, you are wrong. If you said twenty-five except in a fifth set when it is only fifteen, you are wrong.  If you said it depends, then congratulations you have won the game.

Question 2: Name each team that corresponds to the primary or secondary color referenced in the following table.

Hint: These figures are the average points per set for each Big Ten team last season.

Team Points Per Set
Red 41.12
Blue 42.49
Red 42.50
Red 42.87
Red 42.94
Orange 43.06
Purple 43.19
Yellow 43.23
Red 43.43
Red 43.51
Yellow 43.88
Green 43.96
Red 43.97
Blue 44.29

Answers are at the bottom.

This presents a significant issue when it comes to doing rate statistics.   A four kill per set player at 41.12 points per set would average more than 4.3 kps if they had the same kill rate and played for the last team in the table averaging 44.29 points per set.  A quick look at the current KPS table on NCAA Stats says that’s the difference between being 57th and 34th.  A significant difference.  Additionally, because the gap will widen linearly as the initial numbers grow, the result is that the players at the very top of the chart can be misrepresented to the highest degree.  That’s simply unacceptable when trying to use a statistic to formulate any significant statistical argument.

And that’s not even the worst example I could come up with.

Per Set statistics are meaningless without additional context.  The context that a person would need to supply to make those statistics worthwhile is tedious and time consuming to track and calculate.   This results in volleyball fans and the media continually relying on and relaying statistics that in reality mean very little.

It needs to change, and that’s the purpose of this article and a couple of pages that I’ve now added to the site.  While per set statistics are exceptionally flawed, points are not.  In fact, points applied in the right way can be exceptionally accurate when calculating a rate statistic.

Here are the top ten players on the current(9/15/2018) stats.ncaa.org KPS leaders table.

NCAA Volleyball D1 KPS Leaders 9-15-2018

Here is the same list, but instead of per set, the rates are per point in each team’s games.

Kills Per 100 Points

Rk. Name Team KPP
1 13.8140
2 12.8452
3 11.5678
4 11.4781
5 10.9756
6 10.9277
7 10.8782
8 10.8467
9 10.7735
10 10.6240

There are differences and there can be extreme differences. In fact, with many of the common statistics volleyball fans and the media use, using points is inherently flawed.  When measuring kill rates for players, total points in a match has an inherent flaw.  Specifically, during any match there will inevitably be points wher a player who plays for all rotations will still have no chance to get a kill, namely aces and service errors.

AN: There are caveats beyond this as well. Not every player plays six rotations and there are points beyond aces and service errors during which a player would also by definition not have a chance to get a kill. Rotational errors are the specific issue in this case because I did not have the foresight to track them efficiently in my database and will need to do some significant redesign before I can efficiently account for those points.

Beyond using total points for a rate, simple subtraction can be used measure the rate at which a player gets a kill for every point in play.

This is the table for the statistic named Kills per Point-In-Play.  Original name, I know.

Kills Per 100 Points In Play

Rk. Name Team KPIP
1 16.6556
2 14.8148
3 13.5862
4 13.3621
5 13.2583
6 13.1679
7 12.9555
8 12.6316
9 12.6050
10 12.5421

It’s not even the same list as the original per point list.  While this approach is not currently perfect, it’s still much better than using per set because the denominator of the statistic being calculated means the same thing across all players.  The context per point statistics provide is important because without it volleyball statistics are very nearly meaningless.  An instance of “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” if you will.  Making even incremental progress toward better understanding and knowledge is important.

Measuring virtually every statistic by points played improves it drastically, but Aces and Service Errors per set make the least sense as a statistic.  It is entirely possible to play a set in which a primary server will not serve during the set.  In fact, in fifth sets, it actually isn”t all that rare.  Luckily, NCAA Play-By-Play pages happen to track exactly who serves each point, a fortunate thing in this instance because those pages can be used to get per serve rates for aces, service errors, and service points.

AN: This(A primary server not getting the opportunity to serve.) actually happened to Lauren Stivrins in Set 3 of the Nebraska vs Missouri State less than three hours after I saved my latest draft of this article. Yeah, that happened.

These statistics and more have been made available on each team page as well as Division and Conference leaders.  The leaders are available using the “View Complete Advanced Statistics Leaders” link on each division or conference page.

And that friends, is why per set statistics are bullsh*t.

Answer Key

Top to Bottom: Rutgers, Penn State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Northwestern, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan

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ViPR Stat Lines of Week 2

Written By: HuskerGeek

The second week of volleyball season is in the books and this is who lit up the ViPR Win Probability Added sheet.

All-Around Division 1

Heather Hook of UNI takes the crown for the highest base score for WPA.  She scored an impressive 2.2865 in UNI’s four set victory over USC.  Getting the job done all over the court with 50 assists, 8 kills on 16 swings, 10 digs, 4 block assists and a service ace.  I suspect a partridge in a pear tree may have been watching that performance.  It was a performance which also takes the award for the highest accumulated score per set.

Southern California vs. UNI (2017-09-01)

Top Performances

Heather Hook

UNI


Game WPA

2.2891

Offense: 1.5968

Defense: 0.6923

Attacking: 0.7468
Setting:0.7799
Serving:0.0701
Blocking:0.2454
Digging:0.4469

Karlie Taylor

UNI


Game WPA

1.4982

Offense: 0.9312

Defense: 0.5670

Attacking: 1.0424
Setting:0.0000
Serving:-0.1112
Blocking:0.0307
Digging:0.5363

Khalia Lanier

Southern California


Game WPA

1.3308

Offense: 1.0032

Defense: 0.3277

Attacking: 0.9608
Setting:0.0119
Serving:0.0305
Blocking:-0.0869
Digging:0.4146
Source: 108765

Specialists of Division 1

The highest per set attack score was produced by Green Bay’s Lydia DeWeese.  Scoring eighteen true kills on thirty-one attempts with only two hitting errors in a competitive three set loss to Butler.  All three sets were won with two point margins and the third set scored 56 total points.

Butler vs. Green Bay (2017-09-02)

Top Performances

Lydia DeWeese

Green Bay


Game WPA

1.6394

Offense: 1.5634

Defense: 0.0760

Attacking: 1.5634
Setting:0.0000
Serving:0.0000
Blocking:0.0760
Digging:0.0000

Brooke Gregory

Butler


Game WPA

1.3003

Offense: 0.5983

Defense: 0.7020

Attacking: 0.6048
Setting:0.0000
Serving:-0.0065
Blocking:0.2662
Digging:0.4358

Makayla Ferguson

Butler


Game WPA

1.0560

Offense: 0.7703

Defense: 0.2857

Attacking: 0.1878
Setting:0.3963
Serving:0.1862
Blocking:0.1791
Digging:0.1065
Source: 108987

Minnesota’s own Samantha Seliger Swenson takes home the award for the highest setter score.  Samantha captured the award by slightly more than a thousandth per set, just edging Duquesne’s Dani Suiter.  A comfortable three set sweep of Tennessee provided the stat line for Gopher setter.

Game Not Available

Swenson accumulated forty-nine assists in three sets during a performance game that saw Minnesota hit 0.396.  More than a solid day at the office, but Swenson also added three kills, two blocks, and seven digs.

We come to the most fickle of skills the block.  The domain of those later described as having a sense of the moment, or a penchant for delivering in the clutch.  Lauren Frilling of Xavier takes home the prize this week.   Her eight block performance scored 0.4963 on the stat sheet.  Two solo blocks and four block assists in a four set loss to Miami of Ohio.

Miami (OH) vs. Xavier (2017-08-29)

Top Performances

Kristen Massa

Xavier


Game WPA

1.7186

Offense: 0.8735

Defense: 0.8451

Attacking: 0.6347
Setting:0.0000
Serving:0.2388
Blocking:0.0000
Digging:0.8451

Maeve McDonald

Miami (OH)


Game WPA

1.2996

Offense: 0.1164

Defense: 1.1832

Attacking: 0.0000
Setting:0.1159
Serving:0.0005
Blocking:0.0000
Digging:1.1832

Stela Kukoc

Miami (OH)


Game WPA

1.2457

Offense: 0.6643

Defense: 0.5814

Attacking: 0.8725
Setting:0.0000
Serving:-0.2082
Blocking:0.1511
Digging:0.4303
Source: 108451

Aces and service points rule the serving score and Ivana Blazevic of Maryland Eastern Shore certainly acquired plenty of both.  During Eastern Shore’s three set sweep of St. Francis Brooklyn, Blazevic served twenty-seven times and her team scored on twenty-two of them.  Eight times the ball went over and did not come back.  Ivana added thirty-six assists to her serving exhibition.

Game Not Available

Emily Lopes of CSU Bakersfield accumulated thirty-two digs in a four set match against Valparaiso.  Averaging eight digs per set and doubling the total of the next person on the team placed Emily as the top performer in the Roadrunners victory.

CSU Bakersfield vs. Valparaiso (2017-09-01)

Top Performances

Emily Lopes

CSU Bakersfield


Game WPA

1.4904

Offense: 0.0840

Defense: 1.4064

Attacking: 0.0000
Setting:0.0973
Serving:-0.0134
Blocking:0.0000
Digging:1.4064

Haylee Roberts

CSU Bakersfield


Game WPA

1.4224

Offense: 1.2411

Defense: 0.1813

Attacking: 1.2583
Setting:0.0172
Serving:-0.0343
Blocking:0.0923
Digging:0.0890

Brittany Anderson

Valparaiso


Game WPA

1.3023

Offense: 0.8639

Defense: 0.4384

Attacking: 0.0998
Setting:0.6613
Serving:0.1028
Blocking:0.0581
Digging:0.3802
Source: 108539

That’s it for the week’s Top Performances.  Congratulations to all of the standouts.

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ViPR Stat Lines of the Week

Written By: HuskerGeek

Notable players of the week are a part of sports.  The people who did the most or the strangest things.  Well, the strangest might be hard to see in statistics, but the most we can find.  So, the question of today’s post is, “Who had the highest ratings by ViPR this week?”  A question we can most definitely answer.

All-Around Division 1

The player with the most eye-popping line of WPA for the week is Lindsey Ruddins from UC Santa Barbara.  I don’t even want to spoil it before putting the game summary.

Florida St. vs. UC Santa Barbara (2017-08-26)

Top Performances

Lindsey Ruddins

UC Santa Barbara


Game WPA

2.8931

Offense: 1.9898

Defense: 0.9032

Attacking: 2.0731
Setting:0.0120
Serving:-0.0953
Blocking:0.0310
Digging:0.8722

Chloe Allen

UC Santa Barbara


Game WPA

1.4671

Offense: 0.7448

Defense: 0.7223

Attacking: 1.0085
Setting:0.0306
Serving:-0.2943
Blocking:-0.0045
Digging:0.7268

Brianne Burkert

Florida St.


Game WPA

1.4306

Offense: 0.5822

Defense: 0.8484

Attacking: 0.0461
Setting:0.6313
Serving:-0.0952
Blocking:0.0128
Digging:0.8356
Source: 108205

2.8903!

The stat line is no less impressive.  Thirty-kills on eighty-three swings with only eight hitting errors and not a single kill came by way of an opposition block error.  In addition, Lindsey put up 18 digs which accounted for almost a point of her score.  That’s a day at any office.

That’s impressive, but it was also a five set match.  How about the person who scored the highest WPA per set in a match.  That award goes to Indiana State’s Laura Gross in their three set win over the Big East’s DePaul.

DePaul vs. Indiana St. (2017-08-25)

Top Performances

Laura Gross

Indiana St.


Game WPA

1.9102

Offense: 1.0257

Defense: 0.8845

Attacking: 1.0307
Setting:0.0753
Serving:-0.0804
Blocking:0.0599
Digging:0.8246

Rachel Griffin

Indiana St.


Game WPA

1.3071

Offense: 1.0322

Defense: 0.2749

Attacking: 0.3233
Setting:0.7214
Serving:-0.0124
Blocking:0.0000
Digging:0.2749

Brittany Maxwell

DePaul


Game WPA

1.0266

Offense: 0.8571

Defense: 0.1695

Attacking: 0.6683
Setting:0.0000
Serving:0.1888
Blocking:0.0226
Digging:0.1469
Source: 108242

A three set WPA score of 1.8990 translates to 0.633 added for each set played.  The line is again impressive with nineteen kills on thirty-five attacks and five errors with eighteen digs added for good measure.  A stellar night to be sure.

Those are the all-around players this week, but let’s see some specialists.

Specialists of Division 1

Amanda Carroll of Florida Gulf Coast takes home the prize for the highest attack score per set with a twenty-three kill performance.  She took forty-one swings and committed only two hitting errors.  Take a look at the game summary.

FGCU vs. IUPUI (2017-08-26)

Team Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Sets
FGCU2525253
IUPUI2123130

Top Performances

Amanda Carroll

FGCU


Game WPA

1.8912

Offense: 1.4191

Defense: 0.4722

Attacking: 1.4138
Setting:0.0000
Serving:0.0053
Blocking:0.0000
Digging:0.4722

Maggie Rick

FGCU


Game WPA

0.8620

Offense: 0.6804

Defense: 0.1816

Attacking: 0.2143
Setting:0.6415
Serving:-0.1755
Blocking:0.0000
Digging:0.1816

Maggie Gibson

IUPUI


Game WPA

0.8535

Offense: 0.5149

Defense: 0.3387

Attacking: 0.1719
Setting:0.3560
Serving:-0.0130
Blocking:0.1007
Digging:0.2379
Source: 108270

No, your eyes do not deceive you.  Amanda scored more than a point higher than anyone else in the match.  Her attack score of 1.4179 was more than double the next player’s attack score.  A dominating night for the lady from FGCU.

Brooke Short of Louisiana Tech takes home the award for the highest setting score per set in a four set loss to North Dakota.  Despite the loss, Brooke put up forty-seven assists in four sets and added twenty digs, six kills, and an ace just for good measure.

Louisiana Tech vs. North Dakota (2017-08-26)

Top Performances

Tamara Merseli

North Dakota


Game WPA

1.8128

Offense: 1.0464

Defense: 0.7664

Attacking: 1.0694
Setting:0.0000
Serving:-0.0230
Blocking:0.0000
Digging:0.7664

Brooke Short

Louisiana Tech


Game WPA

1.7329

Offense: 0.8465

Defense: 0.8863

Attacking: 0.2114
Setting:0.6683
Serving:-0.0331
Blocking:0.0000
Digging:0.8863

Sydney Griffin

North Dakota


Game WPA

1.5484

Offense: 1.2148

Defense: 0.3336

Attacking: -0.0285
Setting:0.9665
Serving:0.2768
Blocking:0.0531
Digging:0.2805
Source: 108090

In terms of Win Probability Added, blocking is a notoriously fickle skill.  A player may have ten blocks in a game, but if those blocks don’t come in high leverage situations, the players block score won’t pop off the page.  So whose block score does pop off the page?  That would be Marshall’s own Addisyn Rowe.  It’s extremely rare for a block score to be the impetus of a player making the Top Performances list, but take a gander at the summary for UMKC’s sweep of Marshall.

Marshall vs. UMKC (2017-08-26)

Top Performances

Rhegan Spiegel

UMKC


Game WPA

1.0913

Offense: 0.3213

Defense: 0.7700

Attacking: 0.0000
Setting:0.0337
Serving:0.2876
Blocking:0.0000
Digging:0.7700

Addisyn Rowe

Marshall


Game WPA

1.0594

Offense: 0.4142

Defense: 0.6452

Attacking: 0.4142
Setting:0.0000
Serving:0.0000
Blocking:0.4838
Digging:0.1615

Alicia Harrington

UMKC


Game WPA

0.9727

Offense: 0.0067

Defense: 0.9659

Attacking: 0.0161
Setting:0.0126
Serving:-0.0220
Blocking:-0.0435
Digging:1.0095
Source: 108279

Addisyn converted three solo blocks and two block assists into 0.4819 of Win Probability Added.  That’s spectacular.  Timely blocks make huge changes to the game.

Serving is another skill that is both difficult to grade and fickle besides.  Aces are easy to grade but like blocks must be timely as well.  What about consistently good serves.  Long serving runs don’t usually score that well either because they put the game out of reach and after the first couple of points usually don’t score that highly for the server.  That means timely aces and consistent serving are the only two ways to really hit it big on the service line.  Well, long runs may not always score that well, but they certainly help.

Penn St. vs. UT Martin (2017-08-25)

Top Performances

Bryanna Weiskircher

Penn St.


Game WPA

0.7738

Offense: 0.6060

Defense: 0.1678

Attacking: -0.0047
Setting:0.1934
Serving:0.4174
Blocking:0.0000
Digging:0.1678

Abby Detering

Penn St.


Game WPA

0.3581

Offense: 0.2225

Defense: 0.1356

Attacking: 0.0861
Setting:0.0667
Serving:0.0697
Blocking:0.0301
Digging:0.1054

Simone Lee

Penn St.


Game WPA

0.3373

Offense: 0.1126

Defense: 0.2248

Attacking: 0.1771
Setting:0.0000
Serving:-0.0646
Blocking:0.0300
Digging:0.1947
Source: 108412

Penn State’s own Bryanna Weiskircher scored twenty-four Service Points on twenty-eight Serves against an overmatched Tennessee-Martin team.  Each time she put the ball in the air, there was an 85.7% chance it would land on UT Martin’s side of the court.

How about those pesky back row players? How made the other team cry out in frustration by always getting there when an attack went anywhere near them.  The award for the highest digging score was just too good to spoil.

Chicago St. vs. Evansville (2017-08-25)

Top Performances

Lauryn Cruz

Chicago St.


Game WPA

2.2466

Offense: 0.5404

Defense: 1.7063

Attacking: 0.6429
Setting:0.0000
Serving:-0.1025
Blocking:0.0641
Digging:1.6422

Cassie Brooks

Evansville


Game WPA

1.0594

Offense: -0.0082

Defense: 1.0676

Attacking: 0.0000
Setting:0.0164
Serving:-0.0246
Blocking:0.0000
Digging:1.0676

Lacee Adams

Chicago St.


Game WPA

1.0417

Offense: 0.6698

Defense: 0.3720

Attacking: 0.0000
Setting:0.6679
Serving:0.0019
Blocking:0.0000
Digging:0.3720
Source: 107954

No, that isn’t a typo.  At least I don’t think it is.  Forty digs.  In a four set match.  Forty.  Lauryn Cruz of Chicago State takes home the prize for the most bonkers stat line this weekend in a four set loss to Evansville. Add to that eighteen kills on fifty-eight swings.  Not all was well for Lauryn with ten hitting errors, a service error, and a reception error but forty digs were enough to put Lauryn on the list this week.

As a fan of a blue blood, I feel compelled to mention that digs tend to favor teams that aren’t facing elite hitters, but that’s a token argument at best.

Well done to all of this weekends standouts.

AN: Exact grades may change from the time of writing.  Each game is analyzed every time new ratings are calculated.

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