Statistic Losses – So What?

In a previous post I documented the statistics lost in the west region due to senior graduation.  In some cases, I was also able to determine non-seniors that left the program and include those losses, as well.  So what does it all mean?  This post attempts (and probably fails) to answer that question.

I had collected similar data over the last 3 years with two years focused on the AVCA Top 25 teams.  I looked at teams that made “big” changes in the rankings and then cross-referenced them to the statistics they lost the previous year.  I also noted teams that had “big” losses to see how they fared the next season.

But first, as the genie from Aladdin said, “There are a few provisos, a couple of quid-pro-quos.”

I’m hesitant to use the AVCA Top 25 because it is what it is – a popularity contest done by coaches with a thousand of other things on their mind.  But, it was easy to access and it’s good enough for this purpose.  Also, “big” is a relevant term when it comes to ranking changes from year-to-year or when it comes to statistic losses.  Just stay with me on this and stop asking a bunch of questions!

Let’s first take a look at some interesting ranking changes over the last 3 season, starting with the poster child for this little exercise.

Name 2014 Rank 2015 Rank Points Assist Digs
Trinity 15 NR 61% 25% 49%


Name 2015 Rank 2016 Rank Points Assist Digs
Trinity NR 16 10% 8% 35%

Trinity is a consistent AVCA Top 25 team and you can clearly see how a “big” statistic loss in points (and digs) can hinder a team.  The next year, with no significant losses they bounce back.

Name 2015 Rank 2016 Rank Points Assist Digs
Chris. Newport 14 NR 34% 87% 32%


Name 2015 Rank 2016 Rank Points Assist Digs
Carthage 3 NR 40% 86% 38%

Both of these teams are consistent Top 25 teams and you can see how losing a primary setter with probably 2+ hitters can hurt.

Name 2014 Rank 2015 Rank Points Assist Digs
Mount Union 11 NR 48% 87% 69%


Name 2015 Rank 2016 Rank Points Assist Digs
Clarkson 13 NR 65% 85% 41%

Mount Union went from three straight years ranked at #11 to facing significant losses across these three categories and being unranked in 2015.  Clarkson had 4 straight years of being ranked until running into these significant losses.

Other examples are St. Thomas in 2015 (63%/9%/61%) and Nebraska Wesleyan in 2015 (61%/49%/64%).

Finding teams on the rise is a little harder to capture with my limited years of statistics but two teams did jump out at me because I had 4 years of data on the west region teams.  UTD went 5 years of being unranked but had minimal statistic losses in 2013 (3%/0%/1%) and 2014 (23%/2%/10%) and appeared in the final 2015 rankings at #12.  Southwestern had a three year ranking dry spell but minimal statistic loss in 2013 (22%/20%/15%) and 2014 (2%/3%/15%) led to a #15 ranking in 2015.  Other teams that would be interesting to look at would be 2015 Hendrix and Bethel.

So, what about teams that face significant losses across these three areas?  I took a look at ranked teams that lost 45% or more in all three areas and found:

  • 2013/2014 Elmhurst dropped from 7 to 17 in 2014.
  • 2014/2015 Mount Union dropped from 11 to NR in 2015.
  • 2014/2015 Nebraska Wesleyan dropped from 19 to NR in 2015.

OK, exceptions, right?  You know there has to be exceptions!  Well, those are the only three teams I found with significant losses in all three categories.  They all dropped.  Let’s take a look at teams with significant point losses only and see how it plays out.

I counted 11 teams since graduation of 2013 with points loss of 45% or higher.  9 of these teams dropped in the rankings by at least 10 places or fell out completely.  Only 2 teams – 2015/2016 Southwestern and 2015/2016 La Verne – improved themselves.

  • Southwestern faced a 56% loss in points (44% in digs) and went from #15 in 2015 to #4 in 2016.
  • La Verne faced a 54% loss in points (47% in digs) and went from NR in 2015 to #22 in 2016.

Interesting to note that in Southwestern’s case, they had three players on the roster that made minimal impacts in 2015 but ended 2016 as their top three point leaders.  La Verne was able to integrate a transfer OH and enjoy a monster year by their outstanding MB.

So where does that leave us?  Losing good players to graduation hurts; especially if they are hitters (BREAKING NEWS).  Losing a lot of them most likely will knock you back a year, but there are exceptions.  In the west region, teams hoping to be the next exception are LeTourneau, UTD, Willamette, TLU, Cal Lutheran and La Verne (again).


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