Martin’s consistent play has led to key wins for U volleyball

by Jeff Barthel

Standing six feet tall, Minnesota volleyball junior outside hitter Erin Martin rarely does not have a smile on her face.

And her success just might be the reason.

In volleyball, hitting percentage is a decent measure of one’s consistency – it measures a player’s kills, factors in her errors and is divided by the certain players’ overall attempts at killing the ball.

The 20-year-old Martin entered her junior season with a career hitting percentage of .225.

“I think that over her three years (Martin) has become a lot more consistent,” senior captain Cassie Busse said.

This season, Martin has knocked down 337 kills in 845 total attempts – good for a 39.7 percent success rate. Factor in her 121 hitting errors and Martin has compiled a .256 hitting percentage this season.

She had 22 kills last weekend versus Purdue and Indiana.

In Big Ten play, Martin has reached double figures in kills 11 times this season. Minnesota has emerged victorious in 10 of these matches.

“If she plays well we tend to play well as a team,” coach Mike Hebert said. “Erin was not only adequately consistent (last weekend), but she’s had more consistent performances in the past.”

Martin has contributed a lot to her team’s 19 wins. In particular, she has helped lead her team to 12 conference wins

In those matches, Martin has accomplished career-highs in four major statistical categories.

As the season has progressed, Martin has reached a new plateau with personal highs in digs, hitting percentage, kills and blocks.

Martin scooped up 10 digs in the Gophers’ 3-0 sweep of Northwestern on Oct. 3.

She drilled Penn State’s defense for a .636 hitting percentage Oct. 18 – a 3-0 Gophers sweep at State College, Penn.

In a Halloween home match, she also accomplished a .636 hitting percentage -again contributing to a Minnesota victory.

Finally, in a five-set loss at Illinois, the Ames, Iowa, native set another statistical high. Martin knocked down five blocks in her team’s 3-2 defeat.

Martin went to high school in Iowa where her abilities were noticed in practice.

“I started out as middle (blocker) in high school,” Martin said. “My high school coach thought I’d be better on the outside. We were doing a drill one day, she saw that I was hitting really well and said, ‘Well, we’ll try you out there.’ “

It’s clear that at her current position, Martin has excelled.