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Author Topic: Volleyball Season Eve predictions  (Read 284 times)

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psycHOGlogist

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Volleyball Season Eve predictions
« on: August 24, 2017, 11:40:55 pm »

I've been putting this off trying to get some more information about the possible starting lineup, etc. But I haven't really been able to suss any of that out, so ... here goes, flying a bit blind. I'm presuming that everyone is healthy and able to go.

Arkansas Classic:
Opponents: CSU Bakersfield, Louisiana-Monroe, Utah State

We should at minimum be 2-1 at the end of the weekend. CSU-B and ULM should be W's; they were both pretty bad last year. ULM has a lot of returners, but they just weren't very good. CSU-B lost 5 of 6 starters off a team that finished below .500. I like our chances against both. Utah State should be tougher. They return their leading attacker and three other starters from a team that had a pretty decent year; they do lose the second leading hitter, their setter, and their libero. This should be a tough match, considering that our lineup is likely going to feature one returning (outstanding) hitter in Pilar, our setter (Rippee), and our libero (Vallee). Robinson is also returning, but she struggled some last year and may be surpassed by a freshman. We also have question marks in the middle. USU has one 6'4" player on their roster, but they are not an especially big team. This one's a toss up. All things being equal, I think we struggle in this match and end the weekend 2-1.

Kansas State tournament
Opponents: #7 Wisconsin, Kansas State, Syracuse

A good result this weekend will be 1-2, with losses to Wisconsin and Kansas State, and a win over Syracuse. Syracuse was pretty bad last year, but they have almost everyone back and are a year older. Kansas State lost a lot but has a pretty talented team, and Wisconsin is just most likely competing at a level a notch or two above ours at this point. They have a new setter, their top hitter might not be fully healthy at the start of the season, but they are probably deep enough so that it just won't matter.

Host a midweek game
Opponent: ORU

We lost embarrassingly (3-0) to a not-that-good ORU team last year. I hope we have some revenge on our minds this year. I am going to predict that we win this one.

UCSB Tournament:
Opponents: UCSB, USC Trojans (RV), Yale
This is also shaping up as a 1-2 weekend, with a tough win over a good Yale team. UCSB is not an outstanding team, but they are a strong program in a good conference and probably have the firepower to beat us. USC is also not at its strongest point, staring the season outside the top 25 for the first time I can remember in a long time. Still, they are big and have some serious talent, and they should beat us. Yale was excellent last year, but lost some of its best producers. They are a good team, but we should be able to beat them, I think.

SMU mini-tournament
Opponents: SMU and SHSU
We should beat a fairly mediocre SHSU team; SMU is a more interesting proposition. They were very good last year, beating TAMU in the NCAAT. They lost both their starting middles and their libero from that team. Their setter is good, and they have a veteran RS hitter who led the team in kills last year. I'm not sure we can hang with them, but we very mell might. At least a 1-1 weekend, bring the pre-season to a close at right around .500. With this preseason schedule, and a team full of newcomers, that's not a bad result.

SEC

We start at home, midweek, against Tennessee. This will be a good barometer of where the team is, and how much the preseason has helped us gel. The Vols are also rebuilding a bit, though they have a few more pieces back than we do. We split matches with them last year, with the home team taking each. I am hoping that repeats, and that we take our SEC opener.

Up next, Florida visits Barnhill. We're going to lose this one.

After that, we tour the state of Alabama, going midweek at Bama followed by a Sunday match on The Plains. Road games are tough with freshmen, but we can beat Bama. I don't think we have enough horses yet to beat Auburn who returns a seasoned, senior-laden team.

The next weekend has us home to Ole Miss and then on the road to LSU. Both these games are winnable. Ole Miss lost their setter to graduation and their best middle and RS player to transfer. They are trying to plug the holes with incoming transfers, but I'm not sure they can do it. LSU really struggled last year, but they have some talented youngsters, and they have a 6'5" freshman who they are very excited about as a front row player. Tough to beat them in BR, but we have a shot.

The next week, we only have one match, home on Friday to USC. They have two very impressive young hitters (one a soph, the other a frosh), but I'm not sure they have enough pieces to be good overall. I like our chances at home.

The next week, we have TAMU on the road before hosting MSU. I'm predicting a split this weekend. TAMU is solid, but MSU is really predicted to struggle. They were decimated by graduation and transfer, and their recruiting has not been solid enough to make up for it.

After that, we hit the road to UGA and Ole Miss. UGA was pretty bad last year, but they have a new coach that has the volleyball world excited, and he has inherited one high-flying OH recruit (who's coming off injury) and who is bringing in several others of his own. They're probably still missing a few pieces, though. This will be a tough game and is tough to predict. The road game at Ole Miss is also tough - we are probably the better overall team, but we've always had a little bit of trouble in Oxford. A split of these games would be a good result.

The home stretch of our season is really tough, unfortunately.

LSU and TAMU come to town the next weekend. Again, a split would be a good result, though it's not impossible that we might win both.

The next weekend is a road trip to Gainesville and Columbia (SC). SC's gym is a very tough place to play, so winning that one would be a nice trick. We'll lose in Gainesville.

Then we travel to to CoMo to take on the Tigers, before returning home to play Kentucky. These guys are predicted to be among the top 3 in conference (with Florida), so it's a tough pair of games. I don't think we have much chance against Kentucky this year, but we have an outside shot of upsetting the Tigers. Doing it on the road, though .... tough.

The last match of the season is home with Auburn. Tough one to end on. Will be a motivation match for Pilar - likely her last game in the Razorback uni (I don't think we have a shot at the tournament). Auburn might be a bubble NCAAT team at this point in the season, so they might have a lot to play for. Another hard to pick game at this point of the season.

Overall, I am looking for us to be right around the .500 mark for the season. That's a 6-game or so improvement from last season, and I think hitting that spot, both in and out of conference, would give a boost to the freshmen in the program and the recruiting. Especially with the challenging preseason schedule.

Go Hogs!!
« Last Edit: August 25, 2017, 09:35:50 am by psycHOGlogist »
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psycHOGlogist

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Re: Volleyball Season Eve predictions
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2017, 11:37:00 pm »

And the Hogs open the season with a 3-1 win over a scrappy CSU-Bakersfield team. The starting lineup was fairly close to, but not exactly on track with, my prediction. We went with the following:

S: Rippee (Soph)
OH1: Victoria (RsSr)
MB1: Pamphile (Fr)
OPP: Dirrigl (Fr)
OH2: Robinson (Soph)
MB2: O'Brien (RsJr)
L: Valle (Jr)

We used Ortiz and Kolbinskie as DS's for Robinson and Dirrigl, and Paige Johnson came in to serve for Pamphile towards the end of the match (after several errors from Pamphile).

Overall, Pamphile and Dirrigl showed well for freshman. Pamphile had 9 kills and 4 blocks, which is decent production for a freshman. She had some hitting errors, too, unfortunately, but absent a video or a report from someone who was there, it's hard to know if those were lifts, balls hit out, poor sets, or what. Dirrigl had a great first 3 sets, but had a string of errors in game 4 which brought down her overall hitting percentage a bit. Still, she finished with 10 kills and 6 blocks, which is mighty fine work for your first college match. O'Brien led the team in blocks with 8, which is also a very nice number for a 4-set match. Pilar led the offense, naturally, with 23 kills. She also contributed 14 digs, which is solid. Valle came up with 19 digs to lead the team, and Rippee pitched in 12 (to go with 3 aces and 39 assists).

The only things that concerned me a little, based on the stat-sheet and the play-by-play, were that our senior DS (Ortiz) got aced 3 times during the match, and the we had a pretty low hitting efficiency overall (due to a pretty high number of errors). That's not surprising given that it's opening weekend, and we're playing a  young-ish lineup. Will be interesting to see how we do tomorrow.

In other Arkansas Classic action, Utah State thumped Louisiana-Monroe in 3 straight games. We play ULM at 10 am CT tomorrow (supposedly with a SECN+ stream), and then Utah State at 7 pm CT.
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LadybackBBFan

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Re: Volleyball Season Eve predictions
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2017, 10:39:36 am »

There were tweets of pictures of the entire women's basketball team supporting the volleyball and soccer teams last night.  I hope this is a sign of great chemistry and support of Arkansas!
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psycHOGlogist

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Re: Volleyball Season Eve predictions
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2017, 02:41:04 pm »

Arkansas thumped ULM today in 3 sets. Almost everyone got in the match, and FR Klaire Trainor started in place of Reagan Robinson (a surprise). We dominated them, winning 25-14, 25-9, and 25-13. That's a rout.

ULM was totally overmatched, and Victoria, O'Brien, and Pamphile hit for extraordinary percentages. Neither Ortiz nor Robinson played at all. Stripp did not see any action, either.

In afternoon action, USU beat CSU-Bakersfield in 4 sets, very similar scores to ours. Should be an exciting match versus the Aggies tonight. WPS!
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psycHOGlogist

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Re: Volleyball Season Eve predictions
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2017, 08:59:42 pm »

The Hogs significantly out-performed my mediocre expectations. They looked absolutely great sweeping USU 25-23, 25-15, 25-19. This was, in all honesty, a very impressive performance against a fairly respectable opponent.

A couple things really stood out to me:

1) The offense was incredibly efficient. We hit .422 for the match - that's unheard of. A good hitting percentage is around .265-.275. Not only that, four of our 5 hitters were individually above .400.

2) Pilar Victoria was unreal. She had 26 kills for the match, averaging over 8/set. That's incredible. And she was just ripping them left and right. She hit .457 on 46 swings. Really good stuff.

2) Reagan Robinson was the best I've seen her - she had 12 kills (.457 on 24 swings), and was just SO smart with her swings. She feasted on the block, just tooling it left and right to score points. Very savvy - and that's how she's going to be successful. She is not big enough or hard-hitting enough to be a power hitter in the SEC. She's going to have to be crafty, and it looks like she is figuring that out. Impressive.

3) You don't have 4/5 hitters over .400 without good, smart setting. Rippee did really, really well.

4) The defense (including serve receive) was really good, too. We are using a libero (Valle) and DS's for Dirrigl (Kolbinskie) and Robinson (Ortiz) in the back row. They were all terrific tonight. They passed very well, and they dug a ton of balls. We out-dug them by 19.

I'm not expecting much from next weekend, but it will be fun to see what this team can do against improved competition. Great opening weekend for the Hogs!

(And LBBBF - the WBB team was there again, as Coach Goldwire posted some twitter/instagram footage of them doing the Hog Call in Barnhill.)
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