This is Part 2 of our series comparing stats from the 2012 and 2013 seasons, to stats from the 2106 season — in this post, comparing blocking stats. Part 1 (Click Here) compared attack stats.
Here’s why we’re interested in the comparison. Think back to 2013. Penn State had come oh-so-close to making the NCAA finals in 2012, losing to Oregon, 3-1 in a tough match in which sophomore setter Micha Hancock was injured in the second set, limiting her effectiveness for the rest of the match.
In 2013, the Nittany Lions returned almost everyone from that 2012 squad — including Jr. setter Hancock, Sr. OH Deja McClendon, So. OH Megan Courtney, Sr. RS/Opp Ariel Scott, Sr. MH Katie Slay, and Jr. MH Nia Grant. That 2013 team built on their experience from the 2012 season to capture the NCAA Title in Seattle, taking down the home town Washington Huskies in a dominating sweep in the Semifinals, and holding off a tenacious and talented Wisconsin team 3-1 in the Finals.
Penn State has pretty much everyone back in 2017, too. We’re not predicting an NCAA title for Penn State in 2017, and the point here really isn’t to compare the 2012/2013 players to the 2016 players — although to some extent that’s an inevitable conclusion some will make, given the comparison of their statistics.
Of greater interest to us was to see how the statistics from 2012 weren’t necessarily all that different from the statistics in 2016. And, equally (or more) important — how many of the players improved, statistically, from 2012 to 2013. Although there’s no guarantee, it’s not unrealistic to anticipate improvement from 2016 to 2017 — without even taking into account the three new front row players: RS Kat Cather, MH Cami May, and OH Michaela Putnicki.
Quick Takes — Katie Slay was so talented and such a force. Megan Courtney was truly special as a solo blocker. Tori Gorrell was pretty darn good as a redshirt freshman. Finally, no question the 2012 and 2013 teams were more proficient blockers, overall, than the 2016 team. It will be interesting to see how the team improves in 2017.
Below is the table that makes the comparison for blocking statistics.
Returning Talent: Comparing Blocking Stats from 2016 and 2012/2013
- Lions hanging out in the Okavango Delta, by Ian Sewell â€“ IanAndWendy.com Safari Pictures, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1092087.Â This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.