Monday, 11 December 2023

NCAA Womens Volleyball

How the different NCAA volleyball scoring formats affect the record books

How the different NCAA volleyball scoring formats affect the record books

When comparing volleyball statistics across generations, you must do so knowing about the changing scoring formats. 

Look at it this way: the NCAA record for career kills was set by George Washington’s Svetlana Vtyurina at 3,043 when she played from 1992-95. Since 2005, Jordan Thompson (2015-16, 18-19) is the only athlete who has even sniffed this record with 2,664 kills — and even this number is about 400 kills off. 

So, why does it appear that some DI volleyball records haven’t been broken since the 80s and 90s? It’s simple: the sport has been scored differently through the decades, making it difficult to compare statistics.

Let’s take a peek at the different eras of college volleyball separated by their respective rule changes:

1981-2000: Side-out scoring (15-point format)

Volleyball was one of the 13 women’s sports that held their first NCAA championships in the early 1980s as part of a Title IX initiative. At its 1981 inception, volleyball was scored in a side-out format.

Side out scoring is a scoring method in volleyball in which only the serving team has the opportunity to score points. In turn, the receiving team is attempting to win the rally in order to gain possession of the serve, instead of a point. With this scoring method, matches were scored through 15 points (and with at least a two-point advantage) and played until one team won three games.

Side-out scoring allows losing teams more of an opportunity for a comeback, offering for more unique momentum shifts. It also gave volleyball more of an offense (the serving team) versus defense (the receiving team) look, as well as a focus on the serve and serve-receive. Because teams could essentially just trade serves and not actually score any points, the lengths of these matches were extremely unpredictable — also, hence why they were only scored through 15 points — and the ceiling for stat lines could be much higher.

Stat 1981-2000 2001-2007 2008-present
Single-season kills 965 – Jill McCreary, Akron, 1990 850 – Kim Willoughby, Hawaii, 2001 827 – Jordan Thompson, Cincinnati, 2018
Total attacks 2,175 – Jill McCreary, Akron, 1990 2,082 – Tera Lobdell, Northern Illinois, 2004 1,807 – Jordan Thompson, Cincinnati, 2018
Total assists 2,026 – Tami Hamilton, BYU, 1984 1,905 – Kele Eveland, Georgia Tech, 2002 1,622 – Lexi Dannemiler, Michigan, 2012
Service aces 171 – Kim Spotswood, Morgan State, 1991 207 – Eileen Nicole Rodriguez,…

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