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From the National Federation of State High School Associations

Mandatory Rally Scoring Among High School Volleyball Rule Changes For 2004-05 Season

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (January 21, 2004) - At its January 11-12 meeting in Indianapolis, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Volleyball Rules Committee reaffirmed the switch to the rally scoring format for high school volleyball in 2004-05, a change which was approved on an optional basis for 2003-04.

Most states enacted the format change last year, and the remainder will be required to adopt the new format this year. In rally scoring, points are awarded on each play, regardless which team serves, as opposed to the traditional side-out system.

All components of the rally scoring format approved last year will take effect in 2004-05, including the following:

  • All matches shall be best three-of-five games.

  • Games shall be played to 25 points (no cap), and the fifth and deciding game shall be played to 15 points (no cap).

  • The let serve shall be allowed, and play shall continue provided net contact is entirely within the net antennas.

  • Each team shall be allowed two time-outs per game, with a total of 10 time-outs if five games are played.

The exception to these provisions approved by the committee this year is that by state high school association adoption, teams may play a best two-of-three game match using the rally scoring format, with all three games, if necessary, played to 25 points (no cap).

"There was some interest across the country in a best two-of-three format, so the committee determined state associations needed the option of adopting the alternate format if they so desired," said Cynthia Doyle, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Volleyball Rules Committee. "If state associations do not adopt the alternate format as a whole, however, schools are required to follow the best three-of-five format."

Aside from the continued emphasis on the shift to rally scoring, perhaps the biggest change made by the committee was with Rule 2-4-2, which will allow players to play a ball over a non-playable area if they have a body part in contact with a playable area at the time the ball is contacted. During the follow-through, players could enter a non-playable area after playing the ball. Previously, the official was required to stop play when a player broke the plane of a non-playable area, such as team benches, officials' table, bleachers, or the area between the benches and tables.

"This change will allow play to continue when a player has made a great save or play on a ball while they were in a playable area," Doyle said. "The committee determined that the previous rule actually had more of an injury risk, with players trying to stop forward motion before leaving a playable area."