Maybe you watched beach or indoor volleyball during the Olympics; maybe you have a family member or friend playing for their school team; or maybe you’re just a fan of this rapidly growing sport. Here are 7 things you might not know about volleyball.
- Rally scoring: Before 2001, side-out scoring was used in volleyball. This meant that your team could only score a point if you had served the ball. Not only did this make for unpredictable match lengths, but it also meant sets only went to 15 points. Now, matches that are 2 out of 3 sets have the first 2 sets go to 25 and the third set to 15 points. If a match is best 3 out of 5 sets, the first 4 sets go to 25 and the fifth set goes to 15. With rally scoring, every point matters, which makes it more exciting for the players and the fans.
- Libero: The libero position is the player on the court with the different color jersey than the rest of her teammates. This is not because she forgot the right jersey, but because she is a defensive juggernaut. This player is a defensive specialist who is designated to only play in the “back court” and not at the net as a hitter. The libero is not limited to where she can move around the court, but there are a couple things she can’t do in front of the 10-foot line: she cannot use her hands to set a hitter, nor may she jump to contact the ball if her feet are on or in front of the 10-foot line (more on that below).
- 10-foot line: This line is marked on each side of the net, 10 feet from the net. This line divides the front court from the back court. A back court player cannot take off on or in front of the 10-foot line when she is jumping to attack the ball. If a back row player is on or in front of the line, then an illegal back row attack is called, and the other team is awarded the point.
- Net height is different for men and women. While the court dimensions are the same for men and women, the net height is different. The men’s net is higher than the women’s. Men play at 8’ and women play at 7’4".
- If the ball hits the line, it’s in: Like tennis, if the ball hits the line, it’s considered in. In/Out line calls are hotly debated in every match I’ve ever played or watched. There are two line judges – one on either side of the court – that are responsible for making the line calls, however the head referee (up on the ref stand) can overrule the call.
- If the ball hits the antenna, it’s out: The red and white striped antennae on either side of the net serve as the extension of the court’s boundaries, meaning that if the ball hits the antenna or goes outside of the antenna, the ball is out.
- Win by 2 (no cap): To win a set, you must win by 2 points and there is no cap to how long the set can go on. And when I say no cap, I mean NO CAP! I, personally, have played in a game that went to 33-31 (we won). This makes for mentally and physically exhausting matches, but it’s also very exciting - and talk about pressure-packed points!
Be sure to catch high school volleyball action on the NFHS Network throughout the fall!