Aug. 22, 2001
This season, the NCAA is implementing new rules that will align the women's game with the men's collegiate and international standards of play. Read below to catch up on all the changes before the season begins August 31!
2001 Rule Changes for NCAA Women's Volleyball
The biggest change this season is game's scoring format. Fans will no longer follow side-out scoring. Rally scoring--seen only in Game 5 in the past--is now used in all games of the match. No matter which team serves, the team who wins the rally scores a point. In a five-game match, a team wins Games 1 through 4 when they reach 30 points and lead by two. If the match goes to a deciding game, a team wins Game 5 when they reach 15 points and lead by two.
"We've found out quickly that playing a game to 30 is long," head coach Jon Wallace explained. "It's a weird number to go psychologically. It also brings different ebbs and flows to the game, so with that in mind, we're playing at least one game to 30 daily during our preseason training to get a better feel for it."
Serving the Ball
Student-athletes now have a chance for fewer service errors due to a rule change regarding serves. If a served ball contacts the net and goes over to the opponent's side of the net, it remains in play. On the other hand, after the first referee signals for a serve, the server is allowed only one toss to hit the serve, eliminating a re-toss. An additional serving rule now allows the server eight seconds to serve the ball after the referee signals for service. The old rule allowed only five seconds.
Volleyballs no longer have to be completely white! Although Santa Clara will stick to an all-white ball for home matches, if they encounter a colored volleyball on the road, at least one-third of the surface of the ball must be white or light in color.
It is now illegal for a player to enter an adjacent court before, after, or while playing the ball. The free space around a court is a playable area, and this rule is important for safety reasons so that players don't run into each other when matches are being played on adjacent courts. This rule will not affect the Broncos this season.
When the ball is out of play, coaches are allowed to address the referee to quickly clarify a ruling or confirm the number of substitutions or time outs their team has used. However, coaches should not enter the substitution zone (the area between the attack line and the center line) when instructing players on the court, and they should not enter or remain in the substitution zone while the ball is in play.
Some conferences will use an experimental rule allowing a player to retrieve a ball that has crossed over or outside a net antenna to the opponent's out-of-bound area. The retrieving player can pass the ball back to their teammates for continued play. The return path of the ball must also be over or outside the antenna, and the retrieving player must not touch the opponent's court. Santa Clara's league, the West Coast Conference, will not be using the experimental rule, however, two coaches may agree to use the rule in a non-conference match.
"Although we won't be using the rule this year, I do like it," Wallace said. "Every rally should come to a natural end as opposed to a rule saying you can't cross a line to play a ball. But I'm not one to experiment, especially now during the season when we're not going to play by this rule once league play begins. In the future, it will be interesting to see how many programs change their facility setup to allow more pursuit of the ball."
To experience these rules firsthand, attend the Broncos' home opener at the Santa Clara Invitational, when the team hosts Creighton, UC Santa Barbara and North Carolina on September 8 and 9. Tickets may be purchased online by clicking here or by calling the athletic ticket office at 408-554-4660.