We have data now, but we have no context. That makes a lot of organizing extremely difficult at best and a fool’s errand at worst. So, I’ve given a lot of thought to some of these teams but very little to others. Alas, sometimes you just have to throw things at the board and see what sticks.
- Russ Rose
- Washington State
- San Diego
- Florida State
- Colorado State
I don’t have much today. There are simply no connections between the pods in our directional graph. Some teams did stuff that I thought probably deserved some movement and got moved. Some teams did very little to prove or disprove my initial assumptions and stayed put. I was in Lincoln at VERT(Longer article to come.) and didn’t see much beyond the four teams that were there. I spent most of the rest of the weekend traveling to and from Lincoln. The official post on VolleyTalk courtesy of user vbprisoner can be found here. The AVCA’s vastly inferior poll can be found here.
Nebraska’s Place in the Fray
Tough to tell right now. The first match for Big Red was pretty different than the clean volleyball we’ve come to expect from the Huskers. However, with all the new players and the losses sustained by graduation and transfers, it wasn’t a totally unexpected start. Statistically, it wasn’t even that different from Nebraska’s appearance in the VERT Challenge in 2017. Obviously, I’m not expecting this team to win a National Championship. That is an unfair expectation at any time, and doubly unfair when half of the team is new to the program. It does; however, illustrate the incredible transition a team can make from opening day to tournament time.
That’s why they play the games. That’s why we watch the games.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.