Hitting % is Important

I’m sorry for the obvious headline there. I’ll try to do better in the future.

I had done some research a couple of years back looking for trends among the NCAA Division III volleyball champions since 2010. Why 2010? Well, that’s as far back as the NCAA statistics go on their website and I was too lazy to figure out how to find older statistics. What ended up jumping out is that every champion over the last 7 years has finished in the top 10 in hitting percentage. There is not another category that this holds true. Here is the data:

Year Champion Hit % Rank Runner-Up Hit % Rank
2010 Calvin 0.313 1 Emory 0.290 2
2011 Wittenberg 0.277 8 C. Newport 0.266 12
2012 St. Thomas 0.270 7 Calvin 0.270 6
2013 Calvin 0.293 2 Cal Lutheran 0.256 15
2014 Hope 0.258 5 Emory 0.275 3
2015 Cal Lutheran 0.253 4 Wittenberg 0.220 45
2016 Calvin 0.274 2 Wash-St. Louis 0.245 16

I guess another headline could be “Calvin is Good”…but maybe I’ll save that for another day. According to the chart, no champion in the last 7 years has hit less than 0.253. Pretty impressive!

I then wanted to know how many teams to finish in the top 10 in hitting percentage didn’t make the NCAA tournament. Out of the 70 possible teams, here are the unlucky ones:

Year School Hit % Rank Record
2010 Austin College 0.287 3 29-10
2011 Emmanuel 0.274 9 21-16
2012 Maranatha Baptist 0.272 5 23-5
2012 Millikin 0.263 10 25-10
2014 Hiram 0.289 2 24-7
2015 Messiah 0.257 6 29-3
2015 ETBU 0.252 9 20-8
2016 Cornell 0.256 5 22-7

So, we average around one team a year that doesn’t make it into the tournament. You’ll also notice that a top 10 hitting percentage seems to lead to a guaranteed 20+ win season.

Now what can we learn from this? Well, go recruit a bunch of 6 foot outside hitters and ignore defense and setting and you’ll be golden. In all seriousness, I did find it interesting that there wasn’t another dominate statistic that showed itself.

Oh, in case you want to put an early bet down on this year’s winner, here are the only teams that stand a chance (current leaders in hitting percentage):

Rank School Hit %
1 Johnson & Wales (RI) 0.315
2 Mount Union 0.306
3 Baldwin Wallace 0.297
4 Pacific (OR) 0.288
5 Stockton 0.287
6 Calvin 0.278
7 Wesleyan (CT) 0.277
8 Nazareth 0.268
9 John Jay 0.267
10 Otterbein 0.267
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5 thoughts on “Hitting % is Important

  1. Will be watching the #1 ranked Johnson & Wales(RI) later today at Bowdoin. 6 players averaging over 2 pts/set. The worst hit % of 8 rotation players in the rotation is .200 (cut her! 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

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