Bulls adjust to rule changes

The National Association for Girls and Women in Sports has given the 2001 volleyball season a face lift. Four rule changes by the NAGWS, the ruling body of women?s collegiate volleyball, could have a dramatic impact on the sport.

Three of the new rules apply to serving. In an effort to speed up play, servers will now be allowed one toss per serve and they have eight seconds from the time they receive the ball to serve it. Additionally, serves that strike the net and travel over onto the opponents? side (a let serve) will be in-play as opposed to preceding years where that would have resulted in a dead ball.

Reigning Conference USA Player of the Year Michelle Collier sees the new rules on serving as both a help and a hindrance to her game.

?Now that I only have one toss on a jump serve, it has to be a perfect toss every time,? Collier said. ?I?ll need to work on that. However, for my jump serving, it?s a great rule (let serve). Most of the time my serves strike the net and go over.?

While the let serve may prove beneficial to Collier?s serving, she worries about her team?s ability to adjust to the new rule.

?Sometimes we see it and a couple of them dropped in practice today. We?re working on it and hopefully we?ll be ready by Friday (SunTrust Invitational in Gainesville),? Collier said.

An experimental rule for the upcoming season will allow teams to play a ball on the opponents? half of the court back on to their own side with their second strike, as long as the ball did not cross over the net. The coaches and players dubbed this experimental rule the ?pursuit rule.?

Traditional sideout play has been replaced with rally scoring. Under the old format, a team had to be serving to score. Now, either team can score regardless of which team is serving. The implementation of rally scoring means in order to win a game teams must score 30 points and win by at least two.

?With sideout scoring, you can serve and serve, but you still need to sideout,? Mueller said. ?I?m just really anxious to get started and see how our kids react to it. It?s interesting to see what happens when its 25-25. It?s a whole different atmosphere. It?ll be very exciting to watch this season.?

Contact Anthony Gagliano at oraclesports@yahoo.com