Time to start our annual look at senior graduation loss. Today I will go through the SCAC, including 2019 newcomer St. Thomas (TX). I’ve done this for a number of years now with some success. History has shown that a loss in total points of 45% or more is a good indicator that a team is going to suffer in the upcoming season. This is by no means ironclad because you never know what a team has sitting on the bench or what fantastic recruit may be coming in that can help right away but it’s typically a number to avoid. On the flip side, teams that lose 10% or less points will typically have an improved season. I will also share the 2017 data and how that impacted the SCAC teams this past season. I include assists and digs in the statistics below but it always seems like teams are better prepared to overcome these losses.
Here is the chart showing the teams in the SCAC with their 2018 records and their statistics loss in points, assists and digs. St. Thomas (TX) statistics are from NAIA.
|St. Thomas (TX)||25-7||76.0%||61.9%||76.3%|
|Johnson & Wales (CO)||2-24||18.4%||61.2%||14.8%|
|University of Dallas||20-15||6.4%||71.9%||25.4%|
As is normally the case with a team reclassifying to DIII, there is a lot of statistics loss occurring with St. Thomas. To take their record into context, St. Thomas did beat Southwestern in 4-sets, swept Hardin-Simmons but lost to UMHB in 5-sets. So, the Celts would have had a really good DIII team last year; one that would have been regionally ranked. With that said, they should struggle in 2019 trying to overcome these losses.
After St. Thomas, we don’t have any other team hitting the magical 45% barrier. Centenary would normally worry me because in the past they tended to have smaller rosters which would limit their ability to overcome senior graduation. In 2017, however, they had 18 on their roster and a number of freshmen contributed greatly to their 18-18 record. They should be fine and I would expect them to be better in 2019.
Trinity is, well, Trinity and they always seem to have another player ready to go regardless of who they lose. One area to look at early for the Tigers would be their service receive as they lose their libero. Still, Trinity should be able to repeat their success and who knows maybe they can get a 3rd senior year for Madeline Mckay!
Austin College had the biggest roster in 2018 in the West Region so losing 28.4% of their points may actually help them if it means less players to focus on during practice. This is another team that I expect will be better in 2019 as their youth gains needed experience.
Southwestern is another young team but they are losing 6-rotation Jamison Duck and their outstanding libero. Like Trinity, my main concern here would be service receive as they should have enough on the bench to make-up for the hitting losses.
Colorado College should be lined up for another national championship run in 2019. They lose a really good middle but if they can get Jordan Mullen back for a full season they’ll come out ahead. Heck, they’ve made the NCAA Tournament for like the last 300 years so you know they will be fine.
JWU really struggled in their first year in DIII so any loss of statistics is going to hurt. The Wildcats also didn’t have a large roster last year, which doesn’t help things. I anticipate they will have another tough year but hopefully they can improve on their win total.
We now come to the three teams that are under the magic 10% mark. Dallas losses their setter but for the most part these three teams (Dallas, TLU and Schreiner) should be better in 2019. Neither TLU or Schreiner qualified for the SCAC Tournament so you can see that getting into the SCAC top 6 next year will be even tougher in 2019.
Looking at the SCAC as a whole and it should be a deeper conference with Colorado College sitting at the top once again. Trinity should again be NCAA Tournament worthy and Southwestern should climb back into that picture after missing out last season. TLU should push the top 6 for a spot in the tournament next year while I still see Schreiner a step below in the conference. JWU and St. Thomas will not be eligible for the tournament but I believe they will finish out of the top 6 regardless. I’d really like to see Dallas schedule some tougher matches this season and see if they can make a jump. Their 5 top hitters were all freshman and I say we throw them into the fire.
Now, let’s take a look at the statistics loss in 2017 and how that played out this past year:
|Johnson & Wales (CO)||2-26||75.6%||7.4%||49.4%|
|University of Dallas||10-20||5.6%||7.0%||27.9%|
There were some interesting stories here but this data really doesn’t tell the entire tale with a number of these teams. You can see that JWU suffered about the same as St. Thomas will in 2019 but weren’t as good as the Celts were this year. Trinity is interesting because they were right at the 45% points loss mark but had another fine year. The story here was the return of “senior” Madeline McKay who had an extra year of eligibility. She was originally included in that 45.3% points loss number so that number was, in fact, more like 20+%. Southwestern actually had a lot more losses than what is listed as they lost an underclassman hitter and their All-Region setter. This pushed them well over the 45% mark and their down 2018 season makes more sense. Centenary really shouldn’t have had the year they did but this highlights what a great incoming class can do for a program. The Ladies two best hitters in 2018 (Davis and Kelley) were freshmen and they picked up a really nice setter in Demerjian.
Dallas is interesting as they were under the 10% mark and moved from 10 wins to 20 wins in 2018. As you saw above, they are under 10% again this season. Now don’t expect another 10 win increase but another 20 win season playing against better competition seems very likely. TLU is the real strange one in this table but you have to remember they had a late coaching change and lost two of their best underclassmen. Factoring in those losses pushed them right to that 45% mark.
So, again, senior graduation statistics loss is a nice tool and will often let us know which teams will struggle. In the end, however, you need to keep your underclassmen, develop them and keep pulling in recruits that will help.