Quarterback – Point Guard – Pitcher – Setter
A Denver Broncos’ wide receiver was discussing his quarterback, Jay Cutler, and said the following: “Any team, anyplace, in any sport, anytime, when one guy touches the ball the majority of the time, the majority of the time you win or lose off his play–basketball with the point guard, baseball with the pitcher.
Nicole Fawcett, a senior outside hitter for Penn State, was named 2008 player of the year in Women’s College volleyball. She is a great player, and was aided by having great sets from one of the best setters (if not, THE best setter) in the country, Alisha Glass.
Do not mistake me; I am not saying that Fawcett didn’t deserve the National Player of the Year. I am simply drawing attention to the fact that without Glass’s setting, Fawcett’s impressive .4+ hitting percentage for the regular season might not have happened. As the saying goes, “The setter is the hardest working player on the court that recieves no glory.”
Glass’s setting is fast, strong, and accurate, which causes holes in the block for her outside hitters to utilize. She dumps when she needs to, forcing the opposing blockers to respect her when she is in the front row, which opens up even more of a hole in the opposition’s block for her hitters. Even against the impressive block of Foluke Akinradewo, Stanford’s starting middle blocker and the 2007 National Player of the Year, Glass was able to distribute the ball so well that the Penn State Nittany Lions swept the Stanford Cardinal in three in the 2008 National Championship Match, giving them their second national title in a row.
The 2008 Penn State team went absolutely undefeated throughout the entire season, and only lost two sets in the post-season. Penn State’s head coach, Russ Rose, has this to say about Glass. “As Alisha progressed last season and she got better and better, we as a team got better and better.” The fact of the matter is that putting the ball in the hands of your best player allows a team to get “better and better.”
The sad truth, however, is that many seem to have blinders on and see only the mistakes made by that player and question why that player gets to play all the time when they make these mistakes. The fact of the matter is that because the player makes so few mistakes, it is easier to notice when they make an error. Tim Tebow, for instance, is a college quaterback for the Florida Gators, and is hailed by many to be the best college player ever. But, in watching many of his games, one tends to notice when he loses yards more so than when he gains a lot. Why? He so often gains yards that his errors, few and far between, are more noticeable to fans. The point is that even though every player will make mistakes, including excellent players, the best player on a team should play all the time.