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Official NHSSC Volleyball Rules

Section One – Players and Substitutes

  1. Team rosters must consist of at least (9) players, with at least four of each gender.  There is no maximum number of players a team may have on its roster.
  2. The maximum number of players on the court is six, with at least two of each gender. A team may start with as few as four players, but must designate positions in the rotation for the missing players. A team may play with only one of a gender, but then must play down a player ( 5 players on the court ) until such time as a second player of that gender arrives.

    Players arriving late may not join a game already in progress except to take the place of a player already in the game (Semi-competitive leagues only)

  3. All substitutes must take the place of the person he or she is replacing.
  4. All players present may participate. If there are more than six players present, the player in the front-right position shall rotate off the court, and the next available player on the bench shall rotate into the serving position. The same order must be maintained for the length of the game. Teams may designate a different order of rotation for each game.
  5. No unpaid, unrostered or "guest" player may play. Any games won by a team found to be using an illegal substitute player will be forfeited.

Section Two – Equipment

  1. All necessary equipment will be provided by the NHSSC.
  2. The court will be approximately 29 feet, six inches wide and 59 feet long, with a regulation net seven feet ten inches high placed exactly in the middle.
  3. Lines shall be considered in-bounds.
  4. The teams will switch courts after each game.
  5. Teams may bring their own volleyballs for practice, but all games must be played using NHSSC volleyballs.

Section Three – Match Times

  1. Each match will be allotted 50 minutes, or best of five games, whichever comes first.  Any game in progress at the 50-minute mark will be completed, but no game shall commence after that point.
  2. Scheduled match times are forfeit times.
  3. Each team is allowed one one-minute time-out per game.  If unused, time-outs may not be carried over from game to game.

Section Four – Service

  1. A coin toss will determine which team serves first.
  2. Each server will be allowed five seconds following the official’s whistle to serve.
  3. Each server will continue to serve until a point side out is awarded to the other team or until the game is completed.
  4. All serves must be delivered from the back-right position and from behind the end boundary line.  Upon serving, the server must immediately re-enter the boundary area.
  5. A served ball which contacts the net but continues over to the receiving team shall be considered live and must be played.
  6. A served ball shall be considered dead and a point side out awarded to the opposing team when:
    1. The ball is stopped by or passes beneath the net.
    2. The ball touches the ceiling or other obstruction before crossing the plane of the net.
    3. The ball lands out-of-bounds.
    4. The ball touches a teammate of the server prior to crossing the net.

Section Five – Returns

  1. It is illegal for a player to attack or block a served ball while the ball is completely above the height of the net.
  2. The ball must be returned over the net with no more than three hits, in addition to blocking.
    1. In blocking, the player may place his/her hands and arms beyond the net provided that this action does not interfere with the opponent’s play. Thus, it is not permitted to touch the ball beyond the net until an opponent has executed an attack hit.If two opponents hit the ball simultaneously and the ball remains in play, the receiving team is entitled to three additional hits.  If such a ball goes out, it shall be considered a fault on the opposite side. No player may hit the ball twice in succession.
  4. Should two players contact the ball simultaneously, it shall be counted as one hit.
  5. No player’s arm or body may break the plane of the net (Only applicable to recreational leagues)
  6. If two opponents hit the ball simultaneously and the ball remains in play, the receiving team is entitled to three additional hits.  If such a ball goes out, it shall be considered a fault on the opposite side.
  7. Any part of the body except the feet or legs may be used for a legal hit.
  8. Balls that hit the ceiling or objects hanging from the ceiling remain in play only if the ball remains on the same side of the court.  If the ball crosses the net immediately before or after touching the ceiling or object, prior to touching an opponent, it shall be called dead and a point side out charged to the team of last contact.
  9. If only part of a ball crosses the net and is then contacted by an opponent, it shall be considered as having crossed the net.
  10. Block contacts, defined as contacting the ball above the net immediately upon the return from the opposing team, are not considered hits.  Should a player exercise a block contact but have the ball remain on his or her side of the net he or she may play the ball again and no error shall be called.
  11. Players may enter the unobstructed area immediately surrounding their half of the court while pursuing the ball, provided, however, that they must not enter the opponents half of the court nor may they enter any area which due to an obstruction may pose a safety hazard.

Section Six – Rotation

  1. Upon the commission of an error or foul by the serving team, a point side out will be called by the official, and the ball will be given to the other team for service.
  2. Before serving, the team shall rotate one position clockwise. 
  3. If six players are on the court, there shall be three players in each the front and back rows.  If five players are present, there shall be three players in the front and two in the back.  If four players are on the court, there shall be two players in each row.

Section Seven – Side Outs

  1. A side out will be called and a point and the serve awarded to the opposing team if a given team commits an error or foul.
  2. An error is defined as:
    1. Causing the ball to land out-of-bounds.
    2. Failing to deliver the ball over the net during a serve.
    3. “Carrying” or “pushing” the ball.
    4. Contacting the ball more than three times per return.
    5. One player hitting the ball twice in succession.
    6. Causing the ball to contact the ceiling or hanging object immediately before or after crossing the net, prior to any contact by an opponent.
  3. Fouls include the following:
    1. Touching the net during the serve or while the ball is in play
      1. No foul shall be called if the net is driven into a player.
      2. The ball may be played off the net.
    2. Breaking the plane of the net with any body part while the ball is in play.
    3. Blocking the serve while the ball is entirely above the net.
    4. Taking more than five seconds from the official’s whistle to serve the ball.
    5. Improper rotation or incorrect substitution.  Should this occur, in addition to the call of a side out any points awarded to the team at fault during the illegitimate rotation or substitution shall be revoked.
    6. Contacting the opposing team’s playing surface.
    7. Arguing with the NHSSC official, insulting the opposing team, or engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct.

Section Eight – Scoring

  1. Rally scoring is to be used, meaning that a point is awarded for each service.
  2. Games are won by the first team to score 21 or more points, by a margin of two points or more. Should a game remained tied at 21 or afterwards, with teams failing to win the game by two points,  play will continue to a maximum of 25 points. The first team to reach 25 will win that game.
  3. Matches are won by winning three of five games.
  4. Teams will be awarded two points in the standings for each match won and one point for each match ending in a tie.
  5. Teams highest in the standings will be entitled to participate in the playoff round for the NHSSC Championship Cup.  The NHSSC reserves the right to decide how many teams are invited into the playoffs, any means of breaking a tie in the standings, and the playoff schedule. 

Section Nine – Referees

  1. NHSSC Volleyball is a player-refereed sport, and each team is responsible for designating a player from their team as referees for other games in the following manner:
    1. The HOME team on the schedule shall provide a referee for the game AFTER their game for the same court, unless it is the final game of the day on that court.
    2. The AWAY team on the schedule for the second game on the same court shall provide a referee for the game PREVIOUS to their game.
  2. The team-designated referee is the designated official for the game. The judgment of these officials shall be final and binding.
  3. Each player volunteering to referee shall receive $10 in league credit for each game, which can be applied to membership in future leagues.
  4. The referee shall be responsible for:
    1. Keeping time
    2. Recording each point, win, and loss
    3. Enforcing all rules and penalties
  5. Any player who engages in unsportsmanlike conduct, including arguing with referees, NHSSC staff or the opposing team or engaging in gratuitous profanity, shall be warned once and then, if the behavior persists, be ejected.  Any player who is ejected from two matches over the course of a season shall be ejected from the league. The NHSSC official on site may, at his or her discretion, recommend further disciplinary action up to and including a permanent ban from all NHSSC activities. Any player who engages in any sort of violence, including fighting, shall be banned permanently from the NHSSC.

Section Ten – Forfeits

  1. Teams that arrive at forfeit time with fewer than four players, or fewer than one of each gender, shall forfeit the game, and the opposing team shall take the win.
  2. If both teams arrive at forfeit time with fewer than four players or fewer than one player of each gender, both shall forfeit the game, and shall receive the league forfeit score.

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