Women's Volleyball


April 13, 1998

Notre Dame Women'S Volleyball to Scrimmage under NCAA Rally-Scoring Format

Irish and Michigan will test radical new scoring in April 15 scrimmage at Joyce Center "Pit" gym

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Notre Dame and Michigan women's volleyball teams will play under the newly-proposed rally scoring format, in a spring scrimmage on Wednesday night, April 15 at the Joyce Center. The 7:00 p.m. scrimmage will be held in "The Pit" gymnasium, located between the Joyce Center's north and south domes, with bleacher seating available for spectators.

The NCAA is looking into a radical change in the sport's scoring system, whereby a point would be awarded--for either team--following every serve. The existing scoring system awards points only to the serving team, with rally scoring implemented in the decisive fifth game.

Three rally-scoring formats are being tested throughout the nation this spring and the NCAA will use recommendations from the member schools to arrive at a final format. At present, the NCAA is not planning to mandate the scoring change for the 1998 season or during the 1998 NCAA Championship, although the changes are expected to take full effect beginning with the 1999 season.

"The new system will have its good points and its bad points," says Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown, a former U.S. Olympic volleyball team member who next fall will embark on her eighth season as head coach of the Irish and 14th as a Division I head coach. "There will be some radical changes that will take some getting used to, so this is a good idea by the NCAA to test the different options. A lot of the teams will get the chance to try it and then discuss the pros and cons.

"The primary benefits of the rally scoring are that it will make the time frame more predictable and the game will be more exciting with a point awarded on every serve," says Brown. "For me, it's a little tough to envision the change because it is a departure from traditional defensive strategy where you earned the side out and then served for points. But I think the NCAA realized it was time for a change. Rally scoring also will make college volleyball much more attractive for television broadcasts, which is something that can only help the growth of the sport."

Wednesday's scrimmage will last approximately two hours and use format B (the formats are described below). Other options, in addition to the rally scoring, include awarding two points for ace serves and kills from the back row.

(A) The first two games are played under a 14-minute clock, with time elapsing only when the ball is in play. The teams will change sides after seven minutes of each game, with a 2:00 break and the chance to submit a new lineup. A team need only lead by one point when time expires to win the game. If the score is tied at the end of a game, the teams will play one final and decisive point. If each team wins one of the first two games, a shorter 3:00 tiebreaker game will be played, with the teams exchanging sides after 1:30. Each team is allowed 12 substitutions in all three games, with unlimited player entries by position. Each coach has two 45-second timeouts per 7:00 period and two timeouts in the third game. A hypothetical three-game score provided by the NCAA would be: "61-58, 55-56, 13-12".

(B) Games 1 and 2 will be played to 50, with a team needing to win by two points. There will be a changeover (as in format A) when the leading team reaches 25 points. Automatic 45-second timeouts will occur when the leading team reaches 15 and 40 points, with each coach holding one additional timeout. Teams would be permitted 20 substitutions per game, with unlimited entries by position (new players on the mid-game lineup sheet do not count as subs). If the match is tied after the first two games, a 10 minute intermission will precede a 15-point, win-by-two tiebreaker game, with a 45-second break to change sides when the leading team reaches eight, plus one timeout per team, 12 subs and unlimited entries.

(C) The scoring is broken down into three "sets", with the first and second set consisting of two 21-point games and a seven-point tiebreaker game (if needed). Teams must win by two points and the only side changes occur between games. If each team wins a set, a decisive third "set" will be played that consists of rally scoring to 15. There is a 2:00 break between games, a 10:00 intermission between sets 1 and 2 and a 2:00 break before the third set. There will be automatic 45-second timeouts in the first two sets, when the leading team reaches 10 points, plus one extra team timeout per game and one team timeout in the 7-point set tiebreakers. The decisive third set will have one timeout per team. Each team has 12 subs and unlimited entries in each game and the final set. In the seven-point tiebreakers, each team has only six subs.

LEFFERS SUFFERS ACL INJURY: Sophomore all-district middle blocker Mary Leffers (Tampa, Fla.) suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury to her right knee in the team's scrimmage at Purdue on April 4. Leffers--who also played with the Irish women's basketball team this season--will undergo surgery in Tampa later this week and will be sidelined indefinitely. The Irish are set to return 11 of 15 players from the 1997 team that went 25-9 and advanced to the NCAA regional "sweet 16" round for the fourth time in the last five seasons. Notre Dame's spring schedule also included home matches vs. Florida, Purdue, Indiana and Michigan State while the Irish also took on Ball State and Evansville at the recent Purdue spring tournament.

DEBBIE BROWN ON THE SPRING: "The players have had the chance for more match experience and have shown improvement. Our big emphasis has been on blocking and the team has made some important strides in that area. We anticipate using (sophomore-to-be) Christi Girton on the left side, where we will be losing two great players and our 1997 co-captains, Jaimie Lee and Angie Harris. I think Christi will do a great job there and build on her strong freshman season. We have been using (sophomore-to-be) Jo Jameyson at all three front-row spots and she will be very valuable due to that versatility. (Sophomore-to-be) Katie Ward continues to improve for us at middle blocker and (senior-to-be) Lindsay Treadwell will stay in the middle at this point, although we had thought of moving her to the right. (Sophomore-to-be) Denise Boylan has done a very good job this spring at setter and will be backed up by (junior-to-be) Lauren Stettin. We are hoping to see healthy junior seasons from Emily Schiebout on the right side and Mandi Powell on the left while (defensive specialist) Audra Duda will join Treadwell as our senior leaders. (Sophomore-to-be) Adrienne Shimmel also could take on a bigger role after playing great backrow as a freshman. We have two incoming players--6-0 outside hitter Marcie Bomhack (Waukesha, Wis.) and 6-1 middle blocker Malinda Goralski (Misouri City, Texas)--who were named to the Volleyball Magazine Fab-50 recruit list while our other incoming player, 6-1 rightside hitter Kristine Kreher (Birmingham, Mich.), also should make a big impact."

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