Sunday, August 31, 2008

Weekly Review 2: Middle Earth & Stat Wasteland

#6 posting 8.31.2008
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WEEKLY REVIEW #2: Middle Earth & Stat Wasteland

Volleyball throughout the state really took off this week with most every team playing one match at least.

The theme of this week was middles with Tia Gaffen of Wayzata, Tori Dixon of Burnsville, Holly Hafemeyer of Bethlehem Academy and Ariel Carlson of Alexandria among the stars in the spotlight. Not only effective defensively, but this group was ferocious offensively as well.

I attended seven matches during the week (three on Saturday at the Eden Prairie Tournament). Unfortunately I arrived too late to catch the start of the Wayzata vs Anoka contest. One of the sites stated the game would start at 7:30, but most contests start at 7. The next day I double checked to make sure I got to Holy Angels at the right time. Thanks to a football game the event was moved up an hour. Luckily I was there on time. Friday I traveled for the two defending A and AA champ battle at Bethlehem Academy in Faribault. That facility has character and charm that is missing in the cookie cutter warehouses they call gyms in the metro. Eden Prairie is a unique facility. It too has permanent seating like FBA and seems to be built exclusively for volleyball and gymnastics. That means there are no overhead basket obstructions.

There were many options for this honor this week but for there win over Marshall the TOW goes to Bethlehem Academy. BA fell behind 1-0 and then straightened out their game. In the three games they won the Cardinals had a FBSO % of .605. As the night grew longer they grew stronger.

Again with all the middles showing their skills at a high level this was a challenging selection. Holly Hafemeyer of Bethlehem Academy gets the nod. She had 19 kills and 6 blocks plus an ace to help BA to victory. Hafemeyer picked up steam as the night went on and she has decent awareness to put the ball where the defense isn't.

Team of the Week
1. OH Kara Pioske, Waconia 11 points, 5.5 ppg
2. OH Katie Froehle, Eden Prairie 17.5 points, 4.38 ppg
3. MH Holly Hafemeyer, Bethlehem Academy 26 points 6.5 ppg
4. MH Tori Dixon, Burnsville 23 points 5.75 ppg
5. S/RH Kayla Wallerich, Marshall 10.5 points, 2.63 ppg
6. S Hayley Buchanan, Eden Prairie 6.5 points, 1.63 ppg
L: Shay Birath, Marshall
Now if I could move players where they didn't play during the week I would definitely, in a heart beat, add Tia Gaffen of Wayzata to the middle and move Dixon to the outside. I would put Ariel Carlson of on the right side and away from the middle that she plays at Alexandria. That would be an imposing front line in any language.

One thing that bothers me about volleyball is the fact that it is not promoted or covered like it should be considering it has the highest numbers of participants in the state. Now there are a multitude of sites that want to do stats and stories. That isn't a problem. The problem is the fragmentation of the information. There is no central clearing house. The MSHSL should be the clearing house and should be where folks go to find solid numbers, but they have dropped (or shanked) the ball. Entering stats is not as user friendly as it could be. The look and feel of the site is cumbersome.
This is how it should be---Every school should be required to put in their stats---an I am talking individual and team stats---after every match. The central site should be the MSHSL. I don't want to hear about how you want to keep information secret so the other teams don't use it as a scouting tool. We need to publicize our sport, our players and the achievements. Can you imagine the NFL not releasing stats? That would dry up the fan base like a march through the Sahara. Don't give me the "I don't have time" excuse. Assign the job to a manager. High school kids are wiz-bangs (or is it gear-fab) with high tech.
How would you monitor this? what would be the consequences? If a school did not enter their stats in a timely manner, they would be barred from post season. Can you imagine a team 20-0 not allowed to play in November because they weren't professional enough to enter their stats? It wouldn't be pretty.
You say this can't be done, but you are wrong. They do it in Iowa. They have embraced the high tech revolution.
Another state (Michigan) has also done something that this state should consider---starting a cable show of the high school season.
I hope some one at the MSHSL will get the ball going on this. The sport deserves it.

By the way here are the different sites that all want your stats right now. MSHSL, MaxPreps, High School Sports Net, Varsity Online, and Minnesota Sports Online.
I used to work at Varsity Online back in 1999-2001. MN Sports Online is in association with Minnesota Scores and is working with the StarTribune. MaxPreps is national in scope. KARE 11 is working with High School Sports Net.

Next up: tomorrow morning.