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Volleyball committed to cutting down on errors

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 5:00 AM

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Volleyball is a fast game. Volleys take place in rapid succession and at a lightning pace. As a result, the smallest slip-up or mental error can end up costing a team dearly, something the Iowa volleyball team knows all too well.

The 9-3 Hawkeyes have been playing much stronger volleyball since last year in the eyes of many. However, their Achilles heel seems be they are prone to errors. Throughout the course of the 2012 season, the Black and Gold recorded more than 700 errors, and with 244 through 12 matches so far this year, they are on pace to surpass that number.

“We have to work on it,” head coach Sharon Dingman said. “We’ve been designing some drills recently to help combat these issues. I think everyone on the team needs to understand the impact they make, and not just the impact but also what’s going on around them. It’s something we definitely need to get better at.”

But what exactly is considered an “error” by NCAA standards? In fact, there are a multitude of actions that are officially scored as errors by game scorekeepers, which includes attacking errors such as touching the ball more than three times per side on a volley, hitting the ball out of bounds on the opponents side, and serving into the net.

“[Attacking errors] are one of the big problems we have,” junior Alex Lovell said. “We can’t afford to have that many errors and keep making them, especially once Big Ten play starts and we start to face teams that don’t make as many errors as we do. We still want to be aggressive, but we have to be more careful as well.”

One good barometer for looking at the effect too many errors can have on a team is hitting percentage, which is calculated by taking the total number of kills, subtracting errors, and dividing it by total attempts. Because Iowa finished with the third-most errors in the Big Ten last season, it’s not surprising that its .165 hitting percentage was dead last in the conference.

Having said that, it is something that the team and Dingman have been working to correct.

“After we saw that we had a lot of mistakes and areas we need to work on, we’ve been in the gym every day this week working on our bumping and working on our setting,” senior Bethany Yeager said. “We have also done a lot of individual work working on receiving serves better and getting better at passing.”

The one positive take away from all this is that at least you can say that the Hawks have their work cut out for them and that they have nowhere to go but up. The 9-3 Hawkeyes are only one win shy of surpassing their total of ten from last year, and hopefully more commitment to smarter play will correlate to more wins in the Big Ten.

“Errors will come and go, but I think as long as we can keep improving our passing and keep serving hard we’ll be able to eliminate a lot of those errors,” sophomore Erin Radke said.


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