A New Hi-Tech Way to Score Volleyball Matches?

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The mouse is becoming mightier than the pen at the officials' table as DataProject's eScoresheet is revolutionizing the sport of volleyball in Europe and starting to make its mark in the United States.

For the first time in the United States, the program is being put in front of key decision makers who run volleyball clubs, tournaments and regions as a way to market the program to potential consumers. The computerized, mouse-driven eScoresheet program (click here for screen shot) is being showcased to official scorers at this week's USA Volleyball Open National Championships as a way to make the task of scoring matches easier.

Instead of making multiple marks and creating symbols on the paper score sheet, the official scorer using eScoresheet can make a couple clicks on the screen to accomplish the same task without ever really missing any match action in front of them. The software is intuitive in prompting the user when it expects certain actions to happen during a match such as a libero entry, making it user-friendly. At the end of the match, the score sheet can be produced in either a PDF document or printed for a hard copy without ever having to touch a pen. (click here for a sample eScoresheet print out, click here for libero tracking sheet)

"The program was fairly easy to use," said Emi Vishoot, who has been a national rated scorekeeper since 1992 and earned her international scorekeeper certification in 2006. "Once I observed it, the program was very understandable and intuitive."

eScoresheet was born through the same concepts as DataProject's sister program Data Volley, which is an in-game statistical analysis program. USA Volleyball uses Data Volley and DataProject exclusively in its statistical and video analysis of National Team matches.

"Given the technology of Data Volley, we thought that there should be a way to do scorekeeping in a similar fashion," said James Wilroy, managing director of DataProject in the USA for the Italian-based company. "Thus, the program has been in off-and-on software programming for the past 10 years."

The eScoresheet program that went into conceptualization a decade ago has already been fully implemented in several professional volleyball leagues in Europe over the last couple years. The Confederation of European Volleyball (CEV) Champions League has replaced the paper version with eScoresheet as the primary live scorekeeping system.

The USA market is the next phase in the roll out.

"This program is not experimental software," Wilroy said. "It has been implemented in other areas of the world. We are allowing individuals to test eScoresheet here at USA Volleyball Open National Championships during the Open Division matches, getting people aware of the program and to adopt it as a means to keep the official score."

Wilroy has spent the better part of the last two years putting the eScoresheet software in front of different groups such as the NCAA.

"We have tested the program during the NCAA Men's Collegiate Volleyball Championships the past two years and the NCAA Division I Women's Championship last year," Wilroy said. "Internationally, it has been in use as the primary scorekeeping method for two, three years now. In the CEV, it is the primary scorekeeping system."

At the 2008 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship, a scorekeeping error on paper led to a several minute delay in the title match between Penn State and Stanford. If eScoresheet had been in use, the potential for such an error would have been significantly reduced.

"The importance of the project grew as I watched the scoring issue during the 2008 NCAA Division I Women's Championship final," Wilroy said.

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