We looked at the senior graduation statistic loss for the SCAC conference yesterday and today we’ve got the SCIAC. As a reminder…
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 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 SCIAC with their 2018 records and their statistics loss in points, assists and digs.
As you’ll see below, Oxy is facing their second straight year above the 45% mark and that is not a good thing. When you factor in the loss of their primary setter and the defense and it appears the Tigers will be fortunate to maintain their win total in 2019.
La Verne sits right below the magical 45% mark and although I usually dismiss the loss of a libero, I’m a little scared for the Leopards with the graduation of Kristen Sanchez. Another factor that scares me is that they played only 13 players during the season and I really don’t see a hitter ready to bloom. This is a great program that can recruit but I’m worried about La Verne in 2019.
One of the big stories of 2018 was the Chapman freshmen so we tend to forget they had seniors contributing. The big losses are middle Lauren Friend and libero Sara Utsugi. Chapman had a large roster and should be positioned to overcome these losses but that’s a lot of defense going out the gym door. I expect another good season from the Panthers and their big need is just to schedule tougher.
Cal Lutheran’s losses are pretty close to what they lost last year and it was enough for me to be scared off of them this past season. Of course, they proved me wrong but this will now be three straight years of pretty significant losses. With that said, what this is probably telling us about the Regals is that it’s typical for players to spend time on the bench before they get their chance. They did have a pretty large roster this past season with some really interesting freshmen so I’m inclined to think Cal Lu will be able to repeat their success next season.
I’m a big fan of graduating senior Makenzie Thieme so although the Poets overall losses are manageable, I am concerned a bit for the 2019 season. One thing helping them is that they did play a lot of players last year with a number of the “bench” players getting significant time. Ashley Whittall also had an unexpected down year so a bounce back here pretty much means Whittier should match their 2018 output.
I believe Pomona-Pitzer is in position to overcome their 2018 losses pretty well. They have a pretty large roster and a number of players received court time last season. They also have a couple of juniors that should be able to embrace a larger workload. They need to find a replacement for their libero, which they should be able to do. Look for the Sagehens to be in the SCIAC Tournament race again next season.
Name the team that has lost the least amount to senior graduation over the last three years. Yup…Caltech. Actually, Caltech’s 12.1% loss this time around is the worst over that time period, which is really interesting. The unfortunate flip side is that we are not seeing an increase in win totals as their record has remained pretty stagnant. Now, my eyeballs tell me they are playing a lot better but they are just hampered by playing in a really tough conference. They have a chance to challenge Oxy this season and the rest will just depend on how tough they schedule their out-of-conference portion.
This will mark the second year that Redlands will have virtually no losses due to senior graduation. They had a 7 win improvement this past season and will definitely make a deep conference even harder in 2019.
Turn away. I’m serious…don’t read this paragraph. You have been warned. It’s rare for a team to not have any seniors contributing to a season. It’s even more rare when that team won 27 matches and was probably the best team in the region. Factor in a rash of injuries that gave a number of players court time and I now introduce you to 2019 national champion contender, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. CMS is going to be tough again next season but they do have some questions primarily centering around their outsides. They also have a number of answers sitting on their roster and rumor has it a couple of recruits that can make an immediate impact.
Looking at the SCIAC as a whole and, like the SCAC, they will be deeper this year. At this point you’d have to say that Occidental and Caltech may be the only teams that aren’t expected to make a run at their tournament. La Verne could falter and with this conference being so deep it won’t be surprising if they drop out of the top 4 in 2019. That would leave 6 teams vying for 4 spots so nothing really new in the SCIAC. Heck, La Verne will probably still be in the mix so make it 7. Memo to these 7 teams…it’s going to be really important for you guys to schedule smart out-of-conference matches in 2019. You need multiple weekends out of the region because you all are going to have a number of conference losses to overcome when NCAA selection comes around.
Now, let’s take a look at the statistics loss in 2017:
CMS had some staggering losses in 2017 but only dropped 4 wins off their total. They had a deep team as really on one new recruit contributed in 2018. I also don’t want to say that they were lucky in 2018 but they won a number of 5-set matches that could have gone either way. They definitely played with the will of a champion and in the end they stuck their noses up on the 45% jinx. Occidental wasn’t as fortunate as they dropped 5 wins off their total and finished next to last in conference. Cal Lutheran held steady despite some big losses and a big reason why was freshman Maci Haddad. Whittier had to be a little disappointed in their season as they dropped 2 matches in their record when probably a 20 win season was expected. Pomona-Pitzer saw a 5 match improvement and Redlands a 7 win improvement for the teams under the 10% mark. Caltech really doesn’t play by these rules as it’s just so tough to get top players academically accepted into that school.
In the end, both CMS and Caltech poked holes in my 45% / 10% rules but for the most part things rang true in the SCIAC. We’ve gone through two conferences now and both are pretty similar in that I think they should be deeper in 2019.