I wonder if perhaps the expectation for tonight was sky high because this year's team, on paper, is more talented than the team last year - the team last year that beat Stanford and Oregon. That said, you might recall how disorganized last year's team looked when the season began - and against much lesser opponents... but unlike last year, there's no "practice" weeks before a Stanford/Oregon/Florida caliber opponent... It's right out of the gate.
Tonight was rough, and disappointing, but I agree with offonvictory that I think this first loss will be valuable for the team. Let's just hope they're able to respond well for Georgia Tech!
Post by nittanylion1 on Aug 25, 2023 22:59:03 GMT -5
Excited for this team! Jess M. Is a monster. At times the team looked like a well oiled machine. Defense looked a little out of sorts and I'm confident it will improve tremendously as the season progresses. This team has the potential to be very very SCARY. Once they have defense and aggressive serving locked down- watch out!
Just finished watching the match. PSU definitely had trouble getting kills. But equally rough was the defense at the net. PSU had trouble getting many touches on the FL attacks. Consequently, the PSU back court, in many cases, had no chance to dig the FL attacks. PSU made Hudson look like a superstar. Granted, PSU had no or little chance to scout her which would make a difference. As someone else said, there were a lot of FL tips hitting the floor.
The defense is something that I think will improve. I'm thinking that the blocking will get better as the starters shake out and get used to playing with each other. And as the blocking improves, so will the back court defense.
The offense also had a fair bit of trouble as Podraza was not getting very many good passes. She was running around a lot.
It's a work in progress. I have confidence in the coaching staff. They showed last year that they can help players improve.
Also, a lot of people were complaining about KSC not making changes. To a degree, I can understand why. She has to give players a chance. She has too many new players to go switching players back and forth right away. After she's got a handle on the various players, that's when she'll start switching things around more. Just my opinion.
Last Edit: Aug 25, 2023 23:26:55 GMT -5 by jojonito
Also, in spite of playing pretty shoddy for a large portion of the match, PSU lost two deuce games that they could just as easily won. Plus the match was on the road, which certainly didn't help matters any, from a PSU point of view.
A couple of things I noticed looking at the stats:
1) 4 aces for PSU in the 1st set, 1 in the 2nd set and none in sets 3 & 4. Plus, the only aces were by Mruzik and Holland. The rest of the team needs to serve a lot better. Plus, only 5 service errors by PSU in 4 sets. That's not serving hard enough.
2) Mruzik, Stark and Markley had ZERO blocks. That's pretty poor.
3) Only the middles hit over .200 (Markley was 3 for 9 for .333 in 4th set, but limited attempts overall). I didn't see the PSU non middle hitters tooling the block much at all. I'm not sure what to attribute the poor outside hitters percentage. MB lack of familiarity with Podraza and poor passing. I think that the poor passing didn't give Podraza many options to allow her to give PSU hitters many chances to have attacks 1 on 1.
4) On the bright side, Trammel was stellar (5-0-10) and Holland was good (6-3-13). Their number of attempts points out the poor passing on the PSU side.
5) I noticed some situations where the PSU middles were faked out by the FL setter. I also noticed some situations where the FL hitters had some attacks where there were no PSU blockers at all. I didn't count these so not sure whether those were isolated situations or were endemic.
I expected more out of Zoe; she only hit .111 (8-6-18). Mruzik didn't have a stellar night either (huge understatement), hitting .115 (15-9-52). Obviously she was the "sacrificial lamb" in that she got most of the balls when PSU was out-of-system.
But, one thing we can be sure of; neither the PSU coaches or players were happy with this match (along with PSU fans). And I feel confident that this team will be better and better as the season rolls along.
P.S. I also noticed that the FL distribution was much better than PSU, with 38, 31, 31 and 18 attempts. PSU attempts were 52 (Mruzik), 26 (Stark), 18 (Zoe), 13 (Holland). It's hardly surprising that PSU hit poorly. Also, Podraza obviously didn't feel comfortable setting to the back row. Part of that, I think, can be attributed to poor passing.
Last Edit: Aug 26, 2023 6:48:42 GMT -5 by jojonito
I'm curious. I noticed a couple of FL sets withing a minute or two that I thought should have been called as doubles (a lot of rotation). Anyone else notice that or am I being "too much" of a PSU fan?
I also noticed that in the last 5 points that PSU gave up:
1) 1st point was a setter dump that wasn't covered. 2) 2nd point was an ace by FL. 3) 3rd point was a kill by FL after Markley had set an oos ball to nobody. 4) 4th point was a tip over the PSU block that PSU didn't cover after a poor back set by Podraza that Holland was lucky to get over the net. 5) 5th point was a back row attack by PSU that went out-of-bounds (which might have been why Podraza didn't use the back row attack more).
PSU only had two attack by Markley in the last 5 points (I think), both of which were not very hard. On the last 4 points, PSU was in a rotation where Podraza was in the front row, with Holland and Markley. So if the pass or dig was poor, Markley was the only option. Like others, sort of surprised that Podraza didn't set the back row more. The only thing I can figure is that she didn't feel that the connection to the back row hitters wasn't very good and so didn't use it much. I think we can make the assumption that KSC would have noticed that and would have mentioned it if KSC felt that the back row attack was a viable option.
Last Edit: Aug 26, 2023 7:31:09 GMT -5 by jojonito
I am absolutely stunned with last nights coaching performance. While I am upset, I am encouraged moving forward. We clearly had more talent which makes me think we can hopefully figure this thing out. Bottom line is KSC needs to makes some changes.
My key takeaways
1. Jess M is a gamer changer. She did everything! She can win BIG10 POY. 2. We clearly lacked on court leadership. Why was Gill Libero on not Maddy? Maddy brings much more of a leadership presence on the court and honestly I think she is better. That was the biggest head scratcher for me. I am sure there will be a change today. 3. I forgot how good Trammel is. Its good to have her back and she will be great moving forward.
I really think KSC will make changes. The easy one is to switch the Libero and then I think she will eventually figure out the hitters rotation once she get a true feel for everyone.
jojonito i agree the last couple of points FL scored could’ve easily gone Penn States way considering they were scored more due to Penn State errors rather than FL outplaying them. They definitely need more middle production, but again first game of the season so I expect that to improve a lot.
My biggest area of concern is production from the right side because I think the rest will settle into place. I agree with another poster that it’s the first game and KSC did need to let the starters show what they can do rather than just switch them out, but with that being said we can’t have another season of high errors from the right side also. I feel like having had Markley start in the front row could’ve changed the game especially with her better blocking than Starck as well. There were a lot of one on one’s FL made with their right side that I believe Markley would’ve had better blocks or at least touches throughout the game. And plus Markley is a product of the Kash Williams School of Hitting. I don’t think PSU can afford having her on the sideline(if you haven’t noticed already yes I am a Markley stan there’s just too much talent there).
I also feel like Mac did set back row a decent amount, at least more than last season, and Starck and Jess were pretty successful on most of their attempts. I saw a lot of people on the other board questioning Mac’s decision to set the back row twice in the match point but considering how Jess was swinging I probably would’ve done the same it’s just unfortunate the last swing went wide, but she was one on one with the middle and had the left sideline open to score (i don’t think that last swing would’ve been dug had it been in).
This is a Penn State team that’s proven to make improvements after a loss and considering the other upsets that happened yesterday I’m not too worried. This team will straighten things out and I’d rather the areas that need improvement be shown sooner than later!
Also my current last thing to note is I do wonder the payoff between having Starck back row to pass, but there being a drop in defense on the opponents attack. I think she was digging a few balls better than last season but I do also think there were a decent amount of balls that she was slow getting to even with her length that maybe a natural defender could’ve gotten up especially considering it’s a big part of the court she needs to cover. I feel like Kuerschen’s defense was missing this game, but I’m sure that’s also due to the libero/defensive changes. But I do think it’s pretty clear how much scrappier the defense is when Bili, Grimes, and Keurschen are all back there. I always like Starck as a back row attacking option and I think it is needed, but if it’s not being utilized or attacks aren’t being successful I wonder if changes will be made having her play back row as well.