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Expert Analysis: Stanford vs Minnesota, NCAA Semifinals by Joe Trinsey

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We started our NCAA Tournament Analysis with a look at the Wisconsin vs Baylor match. Now, we turn to the other semifinal: Stanford vs Minnesota. While the match had some tight spots, Stanford led most of the sets en route to a 3-0 victory. Let’s turn to GMS Stats for some first impressions:


This is about all you need to see to know that Stanford came out on top! A 70% Sideout Efficiency is going to lead to a win most of the time in NCAA women’s volleyball. All three Sideout Key Factors are very strong, but the Out-of-System Attacking stands out. Hitting 0.417 would be a good number In-System! But to do that Out-of-System, in the Final Four, is truly impressive.

Opponent Sideout

Stanford’s defense was not spectacular. On the season, they’ve held teams well below 61% Sideout, but Minnesota is a particularly strong opponent. In particular, Stanford missed 11 serves with only 2 aces, giving Minnesota too many free points. But their transition attacking was good enough, and their sideout game was so strong, that it didn’t matter.


Stanford’s coaching staff are no dummies. They know their Rotation 5 (Setter in 3) is a strong rotation, and they started all 3 games in that rotation. Here’s an impressive stat: they sided out all 9 times they were in Rotation 5. When you sideout at 100% in your first rotation, you are in a good position to start a game strong, and close it out in your best rotation.

Our Rotations 201 series has discussed how to improve each rotation, but you’ll always have rotations that are stronger and rotations that are weaker. Starting in your strongest rotation is an easy upgrade for most teams.

Stay tuned for more analysis of the NCAA tournament here at Gold Medal Squared!

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