Top Attackers by Set Type

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Decided to go old school to check out something I think everyone finds interesting. Straight up attack efficiency by the type of set they’re hitting. Again this is just conference matches in the 2016 Big Ten season.

The usual suspects are atop the Go hitters in Wilhite and young guns: Foecke and Haggerty. The top Red (the rightside’s version of the Go, whatever you want to call it) hitters favor Purdue with Cuttino and Atkinson in the top 3. Surprising here that Kadie Rolfzen and Kriskova fall to the slots they do.

I counted any quick that remained in front and tight to the setter, whether in zone 2, 3, or 4. I excluded 3’s or gaps that involved the middle being any significant distance from the setter. THE Ohio State’s Smeathers wins this one – with Gorrell, Nelson, and others all hitting at huge clips. And finally on the slide, it’s our old friends the Haleighs atop the elite crew of slide hitters in the Big Ten. Sandbothe and Amber Rolfzen break into the .400 plus realm – and by all these numbers put up by middles and attacks from the right side of the court, you’d think teams would set more to zones 2 and 3…

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Here are the less sexy attacks ^. Iowa finally makes an appearance in the top 5 with Brobst’s ability to hit high balls – and Gillis’s range and touch makes her annoying to slow down on these higher sets. Kriskova emerges as the leader of out of system rightside sets, hitting almost as well as she does in system. Bravo. Northwestern also cracks into the top echelon with Kayla Morin – sitting above Kadie Rolfzen. Though not the same type of Bic you might see UC Irvine’s mens team running, Penn State usage of both Lee and Frantti out of the backrow – for efficiencies that rival many front row players – add an extra dimension to the PSU offense. To be clear, Sarah Wilhite, who hits the Go at .360 is a single point above Simone Lee who hits the Bic at .359. Lee on the Bic is her top set in terms of efficiency. Smart people might inquire as to the frequency at which PSU chooses to set Lee…hopefully it’s decently high. For the record, it’s not. It’s only 4.76% in Big Ten play. Bummer.

And then we finish with the setters. With the exception of Welsh and SSS, these setters mostly hit for a lower clip than their alternative in system choices. While I’ll admit that sometimes setters have to dump balls on tough passes and non-ideal situations, they’re also likely to take perfect passes and strikeout. Take Taylor Hughes from OSU. She dumps at an eff of 0.338. Sandbothe on the slide hits 0.448, over 100 points higher. If you’re playing the numbers, you’re giving Sandbothe all of those extra attempts rather than dumping the ball. And yes, you can make the argument that Hughes dumping occasionally helps to free Sandbothe from both the middle and outside blockers…and I don’t have an answer for that one. Maybe we look at setter dump% and the number of blockers up on the middle hitter when the offense is in a 2-hitter situation? See if there’s a relationship between how often a setter dumps and how many blockers your middle has to deal with on average. Just another question in the pile at the bottom of the rabbit hole.

Anyway, just wanted to throw out a digestible post to give everyone a quick break from Efficiency Change – which is admittedly tougher to wrap your head around if you haven’t spent months working with and around it.

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