In its record breaking, National Championship-winning 2008 season, the Penn State Women’s Volleyball team recorded a total of 156 service aces (1.34/set) versus 337 service errors (2.91/set). Through six matches and 18 sets in the 2009 season, the Penn State Women’s Volleyball team has notched 33 services aces (1.83/set) versus 38 service errors (2.11/set). So, aces are up, errors are down, the serving is improved, right? Not really.
For one thing, the level of competition in 2008 was significantly higher than the level of competition the Nittany Lions have faced to date. Penn State would have a much tougher time getting service aces against top teams. So you basically can throw out the statistical comparison (but our crack team of statisiticians and researchers had fun doing it).
Head Coach Russ Rose knows that the serving must improve if Penn State is going to succeed at the highest level. Although he explained to Jocelyn Syrstad of the Daily Collegian that the team’s serving problems are partly a function of practicing in the south gym at Rec Hall but playing last weekend in Rec Hall’s main gym, he understands that against top teams the service errors will come back to haunt the Nittany Lions. “I think [poor serving is] one of the reasons teams don’t win. But we’ll practice and we’ll see what we can do.”