In football, the relativity of statistics changed because of longer seasons and stricter pass-coverage rules. In baseball, things changed when the American League adopted the designated hitter. The NBA’s rebirth was trumpeted in 1979 when Bird and Magic entered the league. But that also was the same year the NBA implemented the 3-point shot.
In most sports, offensive opportunities have increased because of scheduling and rule changes. An exception is men’s volleyball, which trends the other way, and that’s why it was significant when UH opposite Brook Sedore yesterday reached the 1,000 mark for career kills.
Through the 2000 men’s volleyball season, only natural points counted. Sideout kills — which accounted for about 65 percent of the scoring — counted in statistics but not scoreboard points. Translation: There were more scoring opportunities. Further translation: Clay Stanley’s 50 kills will never, ever be matched again. Of the 15 UH hitters with 1,000 career kills, nine played exclusively in the natural-point era.
In 2001, the NCAA went to a rally-scoring format. Although the first four sets were played to 30 points (and the fifth to 15), there still were fewer scoring opportunities. Costas Theocharidis, UH’s career kill leader, played three of his four All-America seasons under the rally-scoring format. But Theocharidis, in any format, was a phenomenal player.
In 2011, the NCAA implemented another rule change, with the first four sets played to 25 points, further reducing scoring opportunities.
Sedore is the only UH player in the 1,000-kill club to have played his entire career in the first-to-25 system. What’s more, in the middle of his sophomore season, he switched from his natural position at left-side hitter to opposite. That changed his hitting angles and blocking assignments.
In the end, numbers are numbers. But Sedore should be remembered for doing more with less.