In the last few weeks, our statisticians at VolleyMetrics have been analyzing matches and trying to find a skill or stat that is highly correlated to winning a match. We’ve analyzed attacking efficiency, side out percentage, and many others, but they have finally found the highest correlation: serving. Serving is one of the most basic skills in volleyball. Every point begins with a serve, and teams can get a big advantage in a match if they can perform well in serving. As our statisticians analyzed serving, they found that the team that served the most typically won the match. Here are some statistics and graphics that show the correlation of winning and the number of serves a team has.

 From the chart to the right, you can see how this trend works. Each point on the chart represents a team. We looked at each team’s serves per game in the 2016 NCAA Women’s Division I volleyball season, and then graph it against their season win percentage. From this graph, you can see the high correlation of winning and the number of times a team serves the ball. This will change the way a team looks at serving, and this graph proves it.

In fact, no winning team in the NCAA Tournament had fewer serves than the team they beat. This is incredibly correlated: if you serve more, you will win. Below, we have a table of teams with high win percentages and their serving statistics.

Serving Comparison for Winning Teams
Rank Team Serves per Game Overall Record Win Percentage
1 Stanford 24.6 27-7 79.4
2 Texas 24.2 27-6 84.4
3 Minnesota 23.2 27-5 85.3
4 Nebraska 22.6 31-3 91.2
5 Wisconsin 22.4 28-5 84.8
League Average 21.7 58.6

# Corley Bagley

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