Top Blocking Outside Hitters in NCAA Women's Volleyball (2018-2022)

While only a fraction of an outside's contribution, blocking as a left side player means dealing with a variety of routes. Helping with the quick/bic, defending the opposite, and chasing the slide all require a different read and technical response. This on top of the normal job description of the outside hitter...

For our Top 25 blocking Outside Hitters over the last 5 years, a few names really stand out:

Avery Skinner (Baylor 2021) and Samarah Hill (LSU 2019)

I went back and watched some film and both these players have great blocking IQ paired with their ability to physically match any attacker they faced. They're great at making big dive moves to get in front of a hitter's power shot - but are touch tons of high balls as well, creating high value slowdowns for their offenses.

Kylie Deberg (Illinois > Mizzou > LSU) appears in the Top 25, THREE TIMES! 

Watching Deberg, she's great with her eyes. You can see her take in all the information from the attacker, then try to shape her block/hands in the direction she reads. This isn't too dissimilar from how men's teams like Long Beach State approach blocking, purposefully reaching to try and touch more attacks by making large moves.

Ally Batenhorst (Nebraska 2022)

She leads our 2022 blocking outside hitters, but with a slightly different profile.

She has a lower touch rate than her peers, as well as a lower tool rate.

The other piece of the puzzle is that Lexi Rodriguez plays right behind her, likely helping boost her numbers.

Reminder -

For each attack code (Go, Red, Front 1, 3, Slide, etc.) we map the "end zone" of the attack to a specific front row blocker. If the attack is untouched by any blocker and lands in the zone attributed to the blocker, we "credit/debit" the blocker for the resulting value of the next touch. If the attack is touched by a blocker, that blocker is the "responsible blocker" no matter where the attack was headed (if the pin blocker dives into the sharp cross to get a touch, she is credited with the value that touch brings).

For outside hitters, their main chunk of court is the triangle behind them, extending from the sideline to about the middle of zone 6. This varies a little by the specific attack, but this is the general idea.

This is explained further in this post:

Two obviously faults with this methodology is that we have "hard-coded" the zones attributed to each blocker and that teams with a better defensive unit directly behind the responsible blocker, may be artificially inflated.