After watching the incredible National Championship Match again last night (some incredible offense and defense!!!), I believe the box score tells us why Penn State beat Texas and won an unprecedented third National Championship – in a row! As with most sports, it comes down to errors. Texas, especially Destinee Hooker, showcased spectacular kills, but Texas committed the most errors. Penn State kept the ball in play more (Team IPE). As is said in the volleyball world, “Teams that win the serving and passing battle, win the match”. Thus is true in the National Championship.
Following are statistics from the box score:
Team IPE or In Play Efficiency accounts for total points in the match divided by a team’s errors. Its not an exact figure, but I have been using Team IPE throughout my Winthrop season as well as my juniors season and have found that a team that keeps the ball in play at least 80% of the time wins the match. Penn State’s Team IPE was 83%, Texas’ Team IPE was 76%.
Penn State did all the little things better. They served in, made clean ball contacts (Texas had 5 BHE’s – Ball Handling Errors), only had 1 blocking error, and less hitting errors. Golf has a saying, “Drive for dough, putt for dough”. Penn State putted better; Russ Rose made the dough.
***As a side note, Alan Reifman, a professor at Texas Tech University has a great blog on volleyball and statistics. He has an interesting analysis on the match too. Visit his blog at: http://volleymetrics.blogspot.com/