Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Interviews and Announcements

Links to recent audio interviews:

Senior Day:
Debbie Humphreys After UCA Match
Jill Ivy After UCA Match
Paige Holland After UCA Match

SFA 3, NSU 1:
Justice Walker After NSU Match (Natchitoches)
Jill Ivy & Paige Holland After NSU Match (Natchitoches)

I am happy to report that the Southland Conference has granted written permission to cover the 2014 Southland Conference Volleyball Tournament.  Of course, this event goes down in Natchitoches, LA next weekend - Friday, November 21 through Sunday, November 23.  I am pleased to be partnering with the conference office on this.  The first two days of the tournament will be covered by the Southland Digital Network.  The championship match will appear on ESPN3.  Details can be found at the SLC's Conference Tournament Central website.

Last year at this time I was ready to begin Internet radio broadcasts.  However, there really wasn't enough time to get the proper permissions and shortly before the tournament began in Corpus Christi, the league office let me know that it would be best if I didn't begin radio for the first time at the SLC Tourney.  In retrospect, this was wise.  By working out some kinks during the 2014 preseason, we were able to deliver 13 SFA broadcasts this year along with a special presentation of UCA @ NSU.  Response to the Internet Radio broadcasts has been positive.

I am repeatedly asked by fans when the next broadcast is planned.  I have received email and Facebook messages from several people saying that they have enjoyed staying connected in a fresh way during 2014. At a time where attendance at many SLC matches around the league is several hundred a night, it has been a strong showing to have had over 100 listeners many times during the season.  Our last broadcast topped out at 185 total listens.  The attendance listed in the box score for that match was 336.

There are some things I need to do better.  I've gone back and reviewed most of the broadcasts and noticed some things in terms of descriptions that I can do better.  Each time I do a game, I feel like it gets just a tad cleaner and more descriptive.  The goal is to quickly and accurately describe the play-by-play while sprinkling in a bit of analysis here and there.  Additionally, as all who know me pretty well are aware:  I am a passionate fan and so a fair bit of emotion comes through during the broadcasts.  I think this has to be measured, but I don't really intend to try and repeat the styles of larger media outlets.  I'll continue to be honest while always attempting to be respectful of both squads.  One thing I am committed to is complementing good play - even if it is from our opponent.  I've always believed that championing others doesn't have to be at the expense of "rooting for the home team". Good volleyball is good volleyball and listeners deserve to hear about strong efforts from all athletes involved.

This years' coverage of the Southland Conference Tournament will be more comprehensive than ever.  Last year, we posted 19 audio interviews during the three days and did live chats during all matches.  The 2014 Tournament coverage will be expanded to include:

1. SFAVolleyBlog Radio broadcasts all three days.  All seven matches will be broadcast live including all SFA matches.

2. Audio Interviews posted on the blog's SoundCloud site.  Many of these will be done between matches or right after matches are finished.  The audio interviews will be instantly processed and will appear online within 15 minutes of completion.  So, these will be "instant reaction" type interviews from players and coaches.

3. Video Interviews posted on the blog's YouTube channel.   Some of these interviews will be from a fixed location in Prather Coliseum that I'll set up on Friday morning when I arrive.  I wouldn't be surprised if there are one or two video interviews done on Friday and Saturday evening from the team hotels.  Since these have to be edited, they will go up at night.  This will provide you a bridge to the next day's games.

I have a post about serving statistics in the works.  This will go up within a week.  Also, my 6th Annual SFAVolleyBlog All-Conference Teams will be posted on Monday, November 17.  I expect the conference to announce the official teams and awards on Wednesday, November 19 although that is not confirmed.  I like to get my lists out ahead of the official ones so that I cannot be accused of undue bias.  You can familiarize yourself with my system by reading last years' lists at this link.

I do want to address a position that I have taken in times past again here in this post:  I do NOT believe that All-Conference selections should be purposely skewed towards the top teams in the conference.  Last year I wrote this:

"I categorically reject the notion that All-Southland Conference teams are meant to honor those teams that finished high in the standings by default and design.  To do this is unquestionably biased and duplicative. As a scientist, I just can't do things that are by their very design biased and duplicative."

I stand by this statement 100%.  If a player on a 9th place team is the second or third best player at her position, then she deserves to be honored.  We have standings, trophies and NCAA bids for the best TEAMS.  All-SLC teams are about players, not teams.

My methodology evolves, of course.  This year, I have done even more statistical analysis than in the past - especially for the hitters.  But, I have also made more notes throughout the year based on personal observation, information I've gleaned from conversations with coaches and information on team websites.  All in all, I have spent more time constructing the lists in 2014 than in any other year.

 Last year, 16 of the 18 names on the official lists appeared on my lists.  Of course, the goal isn't to "guess what the conference will do".  There is no point in creating the lists unless I feel as though my lists have a level of respectability and accuracy.  Despite that position, the official lists comprise the votes of 26 individuals (coaches and SID's), and of course, my list, is just one person's opinion.  However, I do feel qualified to vote.  As in years' past, I suspect I will be granted the media privilege of voting for the All-Tournament Team and the Tournament MVP.  As always, I will publish my ballot after casting it.