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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | October 15, 2021

A 90-point set and 15 other crazy-good volleyball performances this season

2021 NCAA volleyball bracket predictions, 50 days from selections

The 2021 college volleyball season, in my opinion and hopefully yours too, has already been a great one. We have had upsets upon upsets, wild matches, surprises, pure dominations, records broken or tied and everything in between. 

Here are some of the most ridiculous stats or facts from the 2021 season (in no particular order of importance). All stats through Oct. 13 matches:

1. Leanna Deegan at Lafayette leads the NCAA in points and kills per set by a landslide

Leanna Deegan

Leanna Deegan leads the nation with 6.45 points per set and 5.98 kills per set. The second-highest points per set scorer in the NCAA is at 5.75 points per set. It might not seem big, but that is a BIG difference. Most other categories are separated by .1 or .2. But the 0.7 points separating her from the No. 2 player is the same gap between No. 2 and No. 18.

Let's think about this even more for a second. She has 380 points on the season, more than double the amount of the next best scorer on the team. 

2. Washington and Washington State had a historic 46-44 fourth set

Yes, you read that right. The rivals of Washington State and Washington went to 90 points in a single set. That set tied the NCAA record for points in a single set in the 25-point era, matching Santa Clara vs Saint Mary's (CA) from Nov. 21, 2017. One more tie and they would have set an NCAA record.

In that fourth set, Washington and Washington State combined for 51 kills and 83 digs. 

3. Dana Rettke leads the nation in hitting percentage at a .500 clip

Dana Rettke

We all know Dana Rettke is a marvelous middle blocker and hits for an extremely high average. So far this season, she is hitting .500. To put that in perspective, here are the top three single-season hitting percentage leaders in the 25-point scoring era: 

Taryn Knuth, Florida State — 2020
50 sets played, .549 %
Arielle Wilson, Penn State — 2009
122 sets played, .540 %
Chloe Mann, Florida —2013
107 sets played, .506 %

So, Rettke is chasing a spot on that list this season. 

4. Howard had 19 aces in THREE sets vs. Norfolk State on Oct. 1

Howard VB

5. Mississippi State hit .622 in a sweep of Jackson State on Sept. 19

VOLLEYBALL BRACKET: The 2021 NCAA volleyball bracket predicted 50 days before selections

6. App State's Madison Baldridge hit .870 with 20 kills and zero errors vs. ETSU

7. The ACC has 11,825 kills this season, almost 1,000 more than the next conference

8. Valparaiso volleyball libero Rylee Cookerly is second all time in career digs

Rylee Cookerly

Crazy, right? Here is a break down of Cookerly's all-time digs stats. 

2017: 686 digs, Sets played: 117
2018: 739 digs, Sets played: 146
2019: 667 digs, Sets played: 127
2020: 365 digs, Sets played: 65
2021: (so far) 331 digs, Sets played: 66

That is 2,788 digs total, and the record is 3,176 set by Lara Newberry at Chattanooga, 2005-08 (483 sets).

9. Ohio State is No. 1 in the nation with 14.04 assists per set.

That’s 0.5 assists per set more than No. 2 Wisconsin. That gap is more than the gap between No. 2 Wisconsin to T-13 Pitt & NC State. Ohio State setter Mac Podraza is not first in the nation in assists per set, but she is second behind Wisconsin's Sydney Hilley at 12.02 assists per set. 

10. Five teams are hitting above .300

1. BYU — .337 (16-1)
2. Western Kentucky —.329 (16-1)
3. Texas — .326 (13-0)
4. Wisconsin — .321 (13-1)
5. Louisville — .320 (16-0)

These are all teams ranked in the AVCA top 25, with four of them within the top 10. And even more amazingly, there are just three losses between all three teams. So for teams hitting above .300 this season, they are 74-3. Good hitting correlates to wins. 

11. The Sept. 27 AVCA poll included Pitt at No. 2, Louisville at No. 3, and Purdue at No. 4.  Those were the highest rankings (or tied for highest) for each school.
 
12. Purdue has been ranked in the top 10 in each of the first eight AVCA polls this season. If the Boilermakers are in the top 10 in the Oct. 18 poll to make in nine, that is the longest number of consecutive weeks the Boilermakers have been top 10.

Purdue Volleyball

13. After never having been previously ranked in the top 10, Pittsburgh has cracked the top 10 in each of the past four seasons.

14. When Creighton entered the top 25 on Sept. 6 after upsetting No. 3 Kentucky in Lexington, it marked the 10th consecutive year the Blue Jays had been ranked at some point in the season.  Prior to that streak starting in 2012, Creighton had never been ranked since 1982.

Creighton VB

15. South Carolina was ranked No. 24 in the Aug. 30 poll, marking the first time the school had been in the AVCA rankings since 2001.

VB RANKINGS: Latest Power 10 AVCA breakdown

16. There are seven schools that have been ranked at some point during the season every year since 1997 (the past 25 years): Nebraska, Stanford, UCLA, Penn State, Texas, Florida and … San Diego.

San Diego

*Credit to Pat Henderson at the AVCA for all of the poll-related facts. 

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