Monday, October 29, 2012

Pac-12 | What we learned from Washington’s loss to UCLA

#6 UCLA 3, #5 Washington 1 (25-18, 25-22, 22-25, 28-26)
next: Colorado @ Washington | November 2 | 6PM

[10.29.12 | 10:00PM | CORRECTION to number of sets lost by just two points (5 not 4)]

Yes, Washington has now lost 4 of 5 after winning its first 16 in a row.

But all four losses were (a) crazy close; and (b) to the other four members of the Pac-12’s Fab Five (Stanford, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Washington).

Amanda Gil and Kelcey Dunaway
-courtesy Shutter Geeks Photography

Before we move on, consider:
Fab Five record against rest of the nation, a .939 winning percentage (Stanford lost in 4 at Hawai’i and in 5 at Penn State; UCLA lost in 5 at Nebraska)
Fab Five record against the other seven Pac-12 teams (they are in a class by themselves)
Times, so far this season, that one of the Fab Five teams has won twice against another Fab Five team
Wins, so far this season, by UCLA against another Fab Five team. Washington, Oregon and USC each have two Fab Five wins; Stanford is 4-0.
Times Oregon will play regular-season Fab Five opponents this season. UCLA and USC will each play 7; Washington and Stanford will play 8. The imbalance is due to the Pac-12’s dreadful new imbalanced schedule; this year and next, Oregon plays the two LA schools just once each.
Sets won, so far, by Washington against fellow Fab Five teams
Sets lost, so far, by Washington against fellow Fab Five teams

Sets lost to Fab Five by 3 points

Sets lost to Fab Five by 2 points

Times during those 2-point set losses that Washington had, then lost, set point, and went on to lose the set

Times Washington had, then lost, match point (against Stanford)

Let’s look at how those 8 set points (over four matches) were lost:
@ Oregon
24-22, set 1
Vansant serves, Fisher kills left line
@ Oregon
24-23, set 1
Brenner/Williams block Nelson
24-23, set 2
Muñoz serves wide
25-24, set 2
Vansant serves, Ajanaku kills right slide
24-23, set 4
Beals serves long (match point)
24-23, set 4
Vansant serves, Kidder kills left cross-court
25-24, set 4
Orlandini serves, Kidder kills left cross-court
26-25, set 4
Beals serves, Kidder kills right cross-court

In seven of the eight instances, Krista Vansant was in the back row, three times as the server. That means that—when Vansant is in the back row at set point—
  • UW (including Vansant) must serve tougher, to keep the opponent out of system (see Rachel Kidder’s three consecutive kills)
  • Setters must figure a way to get front-row kills from someone other than Vansant
  • Servers must figure a way to serve tough at set point without committing a service error

Washington has just two remaining Fab Five matches: at Stanford November 8, and hosting Oregon November 16.
  • Stanford has a 4-0 Fab Five record, but still must face Oregon, UCLA and USC on the road, and Washington at home
  • Oregon is 2-1, with home matches against Stanford and UCLA, and Washington on the road
  • USC is 2-3, with Stanford at home, and UCLA on the road
  • UCLA is 1-3, with Stanford and USC at home, and Oregon on the road

And so, consider this: Regardless of how the Fab Five finish against each other (and it could be tight), those five teams have a pretty good chance of posting a collective record against all other opponents—conference and non-conference—of 110-3.

That’s 110-3.

NCAA Tournament Selection committee, are you listening?

See also:


  1. UW has actually lost 5 sets by 2 to other Fab Five teams. Set 1 at Oregon, sets 2 and 4 against Stanford at home, set 4 at USC, and set 4 at UCLA. Makes the point a little stronger... There is very little separating any of these 5 teams. It is unfortunate that the schedule is unbalanced for some. Go Dawgs!


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