Update #1 – Because I didn’t make it clear…this post covers the teams outside of the West Region. There are four posts on the site that cover each of the West Region conferences.
Update #2 – As I wrote “Update #1”, I realized I forgot Mills College and UC Santa Cruz. I was going to put them in this post. Sigh. Jump down to the bottom to see their statistics loss.
Looking at the graduating statistics loss for the 2018 Top 25 (and selected others) is like a Christmas gift for me.I never know what each wrapped present will unveil. Do I get a glimpse of that big yellow Tonka trunk I wanted when I was 5-years old (JWU) or a lump of coal (Gustavus Adolphus) or even two lumps of coal (Illinois Wesleyan). And then there are the stocking stuffers that are interesting for a few moments and then promptly forgotten as you munch down on a Reese’s peanut butter cup. Like, did you know JWU (RI) lost two matches all year – their first and their last? Or Bowdoin’s mascot is the Polar Bear? Not sure why I didn’t know that but it’s cool.When it’s all over you have a ton of stuff on the floor and you have to make sense of it all and that’s really what we have in the following chart.
|Johnson & Wales (RI)||33-2||1.6%||0.9%||7.2%|
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.
I’m certainly not going through each team as I have done on my previous posts but there is enough here to make some astute observations. Failing that, here are my observations.
That’s 7 teams above the magical 45% mark but I’m not sure if I’ll get too worked up over Washington-St. Louis or Emory. They always seem to have plenty ready to go the next season. Illinois Wesleyan is going to feel the pain next year. That’s just too much to give up in one year. Gustavus Adolphus and even St. Thomas should be in trouble, too.
MIT is just under the mark but combined with the graduation of their setter and the defense walking out the door, they should be hurting in 2019, too. It will be interesting to compare them with Wittenberg as they have similar losses.
Calvin losses Anna Kamp and,assuming there is not another baby Kamp in the pipeline, my best guess is that the Knights will fold and the program disbanded. (FYI – Anna is the fifth Kamp to play for Calvin and the fourth to win AVCA DIII Player of the Year.)
I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising that the best teams in DIII seem to all be losing players at a good clip this year. I mean you do need those stud seniors to make a run.
For the under 10% crowd, you have to like Thomas More if they can replace their setter and, of course, JWU (RI) who will be making another run at it this time with a number of seniors. And don’t sleep on Carthage in 2019. I’m still not sure they deserved their at-large bid based on the criteria but they did based on my eyes. They should be even stronger next year.
One thing that jumped out at me as I was compiling these numbers (and it’s not shown in the charts) was how close kills and attack errors are when you lose a hitter. What I mean is that when I see a team is losing 26% of their kills, most of the time they are also losing 26% of their attack errors. Now, this will vary slightly but usually within 5% of each other. Some teams where this trend didn’t hold up were Pacific Lutheran(losing 57% kills and 47% errors), Juniata (20.7% kills and 11.3% errors) and Saint Benedict (35.2% kills and 50.9% errors). In the first two cases, their losses are compounded by the fact that their graduating hitters were very efficient. In the case of Saint Benedict, it hurts to lose the kills but kind of nice to drop half of the teams attack errors, too.
Here is what I have from 2017:
|Johnson & Wales (RI)||35-1||0.8%||0.4%||1.7%|
Note – Yeah, I could have used Rick Kern’s data for all of the DIII teams from last season but I didn’t feel like it. Bah humbug.
Last season, we saw drops from Millikin, Swarthmore, Wis-La Crosse but not St. Thomas. This will be the Tommies second straight year over the 45% mark so it will be an impressive feat if they can once again compete for an NCAA Tournament bid.
For the under 10% crowd, only Oshkosh came away with a worse record. Maybe there is a reader familiar with the mighty Titans that would care to explain what happened in the comment section? Actually, I know they had a ton of injuries to start the year so another example of what can go wrong when the statistics say everything should go right.
Personally I think these statistics are pretty interesting from a scheduling standpoint. We saw how important strength-of-schedule was in the at-large selections (as it is every year) so the teams going into 2019 with matches against IWU, Gustavus Adolphus and St. Thomas (and feeling good about it) may be in for a surprise at the end of next season. I also would feel much better about scheduling Emory and WUSTL early in the season as they figure out their new lineups than later in the year as they push towards the tournament. Swarthmore looks to be the dark horse among these teams…a team that had somewhat a down year but is positioned to make a major move in 2019.
Here are statistics loss for Mills College and UC Santa Cruz:
|UC Santa Cruz||9-19||4.8%||0.1%||1.2%|
You can see that Mills College is in trouble. They typically have a really small roster so any kind of loss will hurt but that’s a lot of hitting leaving. UC Santa Cruz is going to be the opposite. They improved in 2018 by a few wins and they should at least get to 0.500 in 2019. A lot will depend on their schedule, which is always difficult to put together when you are an independent. I’m hoping they can do some travelling in 2019 and make a run at a Pool B bid.