The Roanoke Maroon Stat Crew introduced itself to the RC campus at an MCSP Conversation Series presentation on Tuesday, December 1. The Crew is a group of students, seven strong this fall, who work with the Roanoke College athletic teams to provide useful information to the coaches. The Crew worked with both the men’s and women’s soccer teams during their seasons, and is now working with the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Lacrosse is on the schedule for the spring.
The presentation began with an NBA-style introduction of the Crew: turn out the lights and cue the “Enter Sandman” music! The students (Kristi Bowman, David Moreau, Taylor Ferebee, Connor Sampson, Joey Miller, Matt Prince, and Andrew Feeney) took turns describing different aspects of their work during the fall semester.
For soccer, which is difficult to analyze quantitatively, the focus was on data collection, in particular successful and unsuccessful passes by each player. Passing success rates were summarized in tables of numbers and in graphical form (see below). The Crew became adept enough at this to be able to deliver halftime reports to the coaches. Coaches Pflugrad and Benne were kind enough to make brief remarks at the presentation, making the points that the Stat Crew’s stats would have been expensive to buy (from a Russian company) and helped them communicate to the players some of their personnel decisions (while confirming for themselves that the decisions were sound).
Basketball has a long history of statistical analysis. The Stat Crew will try to combine their own data collection efforts with existing basketball analytics to provide Coaches Moir and Flaherty with timely and useful information.
Thanks to hard work and good will from the coaches, the Stat Crew made great progress this fall on soccer, and are excited to tackle other sports in the future!