Big Ten Tall Tales I: Hitting Percentage Leaders (2003 to 2010)

Photo courtesy of Acroterion, Wikimedia Commons.

Although volleyball success requires much more than height — hard play, quality swings, and good blocking technique come in all sizes — after we read that someone had compiled statistics on the height of the top-ranked players (statistically speaking) in the Big Ten, Pac 10, and Big Twelve conferences over a number of years, we decided to put together our own charts for hitting percentage, kills, and blocking in the Big Ten.

We quickly found that there isn’t any clearly discernable trend for our sample (we started with 2003 because that is the earliest year for which the Big Ten has league online statistics).  In fact, some of the earlier years have taller average heights than some of the later years, but we suspect if the sample went back to 1980, for example, that the trend to taller players would become apparent. Just visit some of the buildings in Colonial Williamsburg for tangible evidence that we’ve gotten taller over time.

Although the average-height angle was a bit of a dud, we’re glad we went through the exercise. If you take some time to explore the table below (and the two other charts we’ll post over the next few days), some interesting facts emerge.  Just one example — during this eight-year period, only four players were ranked in the top-ten in hitting percentage four times (and Megan Hodge isn’t one of them).  We also added links to player bios or articles (when we couldn’t locate a bio), so, for us at least, its a bit of a time machine.

The table is sortable, meaning you can reorder the data by clicking on the arrows at the top of each column.  Though we instructed our vast army of proofreaders and statisticians to use extra care on this, judging from their “Are we done yet?” attitude lately (Spring in the air?) there may well be errors.  Please let us know if you spot any. 

Stay tuned for Big Ten Tall Tales II: Kills Leaders (2003 to 2010). 

Oh, and we highly recommend that you listen to the “Big Girls Don’t Cry” video while you look at the chart. 

Big Ten Women's Volleyball Hitting Percentage Leaders 2003 to 2010 (Conference Only; Minimum .200/3.0 attacks/set)

YearPlayerTeamClHtGKillsErrsTotal Att.Pct
2003Smith, CaraPSUSr.6-07427363564.372
2003 Argabright, LisaILLSr.6-57527768566.369
2003Rood, JennyMSUSr.6-27522267476.326
2003 Moore, ErinMICHSr.6-177334103746.310
2003 Brewer, MelissaINDSr.6-17024067559.309
2003Busse, CassieMINNSr.6-270352109822.296
2003 Odenthal, JillWISJr.6-07324682555.295
2003 Salyer, CassyPSUFr.6-56513250281.292
2003Wallin, Megan
MSUSo.6-36618464412.291
2003 Shaw, SheilaWISSo.6-28024481560.291
2003 Average Average na6-2.1 nanananana
2004Bowman, KellyMINNSo.5-106716745338.361
2004Walbridge, Melissa PSUFr.6-35010021219.361
2004 Belter, Jessica ILLSr.6-47327464598.351
2004 Gamalski, LisaMICHSr.5-107511725270.341
2004Gordon, StaceyOSUSr.5-10714971431071.331
2004 Reineke, Taylor WISFr.6-36110929245.327
2004 Salyer, CassyPSUSo.6-56919868414.314
2004Hynds, JenILLFr.6-35816052346.312
2004Byrnes, JessicaMINNJr.6-26916649382.306
2004 Nadeau, SyndiePSUSr.5-116923452595.306
2004 Average Average na6-1.3 nanananana
2005Walbridge, Melissa PSUSo.6-36015923303.449
2005Main, MarisaOSUJr.5-97315245276.388
2005Harmotto, ChristaPSUFr.6-25616743328.378
2005 Salyer, CassyPSUJr.6-56116242327.367
2005Fawcett, NicolePSUFr.6-46228181586.341
2005 Lynch, Stephanie PURFr.6-37521767444.338
2005 Britenriker, NicoleOSUSo.5-117322185412.330
2005Dargan, RenataPURSr.6-07511935262.321
2005 Hyser, ChelsyNUFr.6-14910136213.305
2005 Shaw, SheilaWISSr.6-27421269475.301
2005 Average Average na6-1.6 nanananana
2006Walbridge, Melissa PSUJr.6-36410823229.371
2006Harmotto, ChristaPSUSo.6-26116947341.358
2006 Salyer, CassyPSUSr.6-5469326188.356
2006 Lynch, Stephanie PURSo.6-37119358391.345
2006King, VanessaMSUFr.6-06917153343.344
2006Nelson, MeredithMINNSr.6-37024371514.335
2006 Reineke, Taylor WISJr.6-36816846385.317
2006Macdonald, MeghanILLSr.6-16312440267.315
2006 Jacques, Elizabeth PURJr.6-35512143248.315
2006Jones, JessyMINNJr.6-37120971442.312
2006 Average Average na6-2.6 nanananana
2007Harmotto, ChristaPSUJr.6-26519732352.469
2007 Wilson, AriellePSUFr. 6-35111730228.382
2007 Brown, BlairPSUFr. 6-56614640288.368
2007 Reineke, Taylor WISSr.6-37520439471.350
2007 Bangert, JohannahILLFr.6-17714141304.329
2007 Miller, LyndsayMICHSr.6-27623680522.299
2007 Aldridge, BrittneyNUSr.6-36517457393.298
2007Jeffers, AudraWISJr.6-26916954388.296
2007Hodge, MeganPSUSo.6-366311102708.295
2007Fawcett, NicolePSUJr.6-466286100636.292
2007 Average Average na6-2.8 nanananana
2008 Wilson, AriellePSUSo.6-36014722231.541
2008Harmotto, ChristaPSUSr.6-26014327236.492
2008Fawcett, NicolePSUSr.6-46023657447.400
2008 Lynch, Stephanie PURSr.6-37725955520.392
2008 Brown, BlairPSUSo.6-55910523212.387
2008King, VanessaMSUJr.6-07221060434.346
2008 Arthurs, KristenPURSo.6-37715447311.344
2008Hodge, MeganPSUJr.6-36024669525.337
2008Karpiak, BethMICHSr.6-17121961512.309
2008 Gibbemeyer, LaurenMINNSo.6-27523973545.305
2008 Average Average na6-2.6 nanananana
2009 Wilson, AriellePSUJr.6-36518723304.539
2009 Gibbemeyer, LaurenMINNJr.6-26723440486.399
2009Hodge, MeganPSUSr.6-36531473672.359
2009 Benson, AshleyINDJr.6-37925566565.335
2009 Brown, BlairPSUJr.6-56519855428.334
2009 Moffett, SabelNUJr.6-07625592529.308
2009 Dozier, KristenOSUSr.6-27317157388.294
2009Rood, Veronica
MICHSr.6-18121174469.292
2009DeBruler, LauraILLJr.5-107330387759.285
2009Filho, ArianaMINNSo.6-26713550305.279
2009 Average Average na6-1.9 nanananana
2010 Wilson, AriellePSUSr.6-37019337379.412
2010 Hart, JaclynPURSr.6-18011219242.384
2010 Gibbemeyer, LaurenMINNSr.6-25518440387.372
2010 Benson, AshleyINDSr.6-37023665476.359
2010 Bangert, JohannahILLSr.6-18013337286.336
2010 Rathje, JenileeMSUJr.5-117221366457.322
2010 Cross, JenniferMICHFr.6-47418051407.317
2010 Moffett, SabelNUSr.6-07721769467.317
2010 Brown, BlairPSUSr.6-57031080730.315
2010 McClendon, DejaPSUFr.6-17023772533.310
2010 Average Average na6-1.9 nanananana