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Well, for the 6th time, here we go. This is my list for All-Conference performances in 2014. In case you are reading this after 11/20/14, please note that this list was released well before the official conference announcement which will come on Wednesday, November 19.
Like in previous years, I suspect I will periodically comment on this article over the next week. I will indicate updates at the bottom of the post with boldface time stamps. For now, I will repeat a few phrases from years gone by about my selection process:
Recall, I actually pick "teams". The conference does not do this. Typically, the conference puts 12 girls on the first team, six girls on the 2nd team and has 6 to 9 girls listed as honorable mention for a total of 24 to 27 girls recognized. I will have three teams of seven for 21 girls honored and then a list of the players I considered for the lists and "just missed".
As I have said each of the last five years: "There are seven starters each night for any particular team, so we will pick seven girls per team. Each team is required to have a a setter, libero, two middle blockers, two hitters and a seventh player that can either be MB or OH."
2014 SFA VolleyBlog.net All-Southland Conference Teams and Awards:
OH Devaney Wells-Gibson, Sam Houston
OH Heather Schnars, Central Arkansas
RS Jill Ivy, Stephen F. Austin
MB Jacque Allen, Stephen F. Austin
MB Chelsea Grant, Lamar
S Kayla Armer, Houston Baptist
L OJ Olson, Stephen F. Austin
OH Jessica Wooten, Houston Baptist
RS Briana Brink, Texas A&M Corpus Christi
OH Kaci Eaton, Nicholls
MB Glynna Johnson, Northwestern State
MB Justice Walker, Stephen F. Austin
S Michelle Griffith, Sam Houston State
L Kalynn Egea, Nicholls
OH Evie Singleton, Central Arkansas
RS Mackenzie Neely, Northwestern State
UTIL Ivy Baresh, Texas A&M Corpus Christi
MB Cortney Moore, Lamar
MB Allison Doerpinghaus, Houston Baptist
S Paige Holland, Stephen F. Austin
L Morgan Todd, Southeastern Louisiana
Just Missed (in order of position played): OH Jennifer Loerch, ACU, OH Ashley Phelps, TAMUCC, OH Angelique Vidaurri, UIW, L Bailey Martin, Northwestern State, S Kristyn Nicholson, TAMUCC, MB Lexi Mercier, ACU, MB Rachel Cagnina, McNeese, MB Brittany Gilpin, TAMUCC, UTIL Stacey DiFrancesco, NSU.
(FWIW, the two that were toughest to leave off were Loerch and Martin)
Player of the Year: Devaney Wells-Gibson, Sam Houston
Setter of the Year: Kayla Armer, Houston Baptist
Libero of the Year: OJ Olson, Stephen F. Austin
Newcomer of the Year: Kaci Eaton, Nicholls
Freshman of the Year: Kristyn Nicholson, TAMUCC
Coach of the Year: Debbie Humphreys, Stephen F. Austin
Player of the Year Discussion:
I think there are three strong candidates for this award: Wells-Gibson, Schnars and Ivy. Don't get me wrong, I would love for Jill Ivy to win for obvious reasons. However, I think all things considered, Wells-Gibson should get it. If Ivy wins it, then I will be elated. If Schnars wins it, then that is a great choice - no problem with that at all. She's a beast. To be perfectly honest, knowing how voters have typically voted, I would be willing to bet that Schnars actually wins it because of the high attack percentage numbers. Schnars hit .300, Ivy hit .263 and Wells-Gibson hit .203. Let me ask you something? Shouldn't serve errors count, too? If you are willing to indulge-
Here is my assessment of the three:
1) Statistical Argument:
Wells-Gibson had 520 kills, 41 aces, 9 block solos, 25 block assists for 582.5 points
She had 233 attack errors, 39 service errors, 22 return errors, 1 block error and 3 ball handling errors for 298 points against. That's a net positive 284.5 across 108 sets for a 2.63 NET avg.
Schnars had 425 kills, 36 aces, 13 block solos, 19 block assists for 483.5 points
She had 121 attack errors, 85 service errors, 29 return errors, and 1 ball handling error for 236 points against. That's a net positive 247.5 across 101 sets for a 2.45 NET avg.
Ivy had 386 kills, 30 aces, 6 block solos, 70 block assists for 439 points
She had 126 errors, 18 service errors, 10 return errors and four blocking errors for 158 points against. That's a net positive of 281 points across 104 sets for a 2.70 NET avg.
But, we haven't factored in digs. Which is important since all three of these girls play all the way around. Wells-Gibson had 2.85 digs per set compared to 2.09 digs per set for Schnars and 2.06 for Ivy. To me, statistically, this pushes Wells-Gibson back out front. Finally, in terms of serve return, Sam Houston seems perfectly comfortable with Wells-Gibson in return. Central Arkansas appears not to mind Schnars in return, but would prefer Berringer/Hunt, I'd think. Go look at the the total return numbers. Wells-Gibson received almost as many serves as the SHSU libero and over 200 more than Schnars. SFA is OK with Ivy in return, but since this is Ivy's first and only complete six-rotation year, they'd prefer Olson/Martin to take serves.
So, I am not trying to argue against our own player - and not really against Schnars either, but I just think when you consider all the statistics that you have available for 2014, Wells-Gibson wins out.
2) Eye Ball Test Argument
Statisticians don't like these type of touchy-feely ways of arguing, but I think many people vote more from instinct than stats, so here goes: If you were drafting a Southland Conference Fantasy Volleyball team and you had first pick, who would you take? My eyes tell me Wells-Gibson. She's the better athlete, more smooth, can score from anywhere and is the one person I'd want to swing with the game on the line. Again, this takes NOTHING away from Schnars and Ivy. Schnars can also score at will from all over the court. Ivy hits the ball as hard as anyone in the conference, but Wells-Gibson has the all-around game and athleticism edge ever so slightly.
Oh man, did I debate this. I even took my lament to Facebook a few days ago: