Serving up victories
Score early and score often.
South Florida volleyball uses senior Michelle Collier and her Conference USA career-leading 2,266 kills to score often, and they use their aces (106) to score early.
In volleyball, there are two general types of serves, the jump serve and the stand serve. In those two categories, there are other types of serves such as the spin and the float serves.
Out of the Bulls’ primary servers, freshman Leonie Mueller uses a jump serve, Collier uses a topspin jump serve, freshman Corinne Walsh uses a topspin stand serve and senior Ale Domingos uses a float stand serve.
“We see serves as our first offensive tool because it is our first chance to score,” Domingos said. “So we don’t want to just serve the ball over.”
The float serve gives players more control so they have an easier time pinpointing their target on the serve.
“I think (with) the float you can control the ball better,” Domingos said. “So it depends on how you hit the ball. It either drops in front of you or behind the passer.”
The specialty of the float serve is that it will float and then drop on the spot on the floor the server needs or into its prey, the passer.
“(Assistant coach) Claire (Roach) is always telling us zones for us to serve, so with a float serve you can actually control better and reach your goal as to where you want to serve,” Domingos said. “It’s also kind of tricky because the ball drops all of a sudden.”
With a top spin serve, the player hits the ball on the side so it spins towards the player.
Both serves have their advantages and disadvantages for the opposing player.
“The jump serve is easier for the passer if it comes straight at her just because the ball is spinning into the pass,” Domingos said. “The floater is hard to pass because the ball is moving, and you’re moving. However, the jump serve comes stronger because you don’t have enough time to move to the ball.”
The jump serve also has some advantages and disadvantages of its own for the server.
With the jump serve there is more chance for a fault, with more parts being put into the serve.
“Sometimes if you throw the ball a little bit different you can make a fault,” USF coach Nancy Mueller said. “If you do a stand serve, you only have to throw the ball low. I throw it, then I have to watch it, then do my approach.”
However, with a jump comes added velocity and power.
“(With a) jump serve, the ball is going to come with more velocity,” Mueller said. “I just think the ball is coming at a higher velocity than someone standing on the floor.”
These serves give the players options on their attack. The Bulls either use the serve to directly score points or pick out a passer and attack that way.
“We actually have a goal. We want to take someone out of the offense and make them pass bad,” Domingos said. “So we can take the middle blocker out so we know that the ball is going to be set to the outside. Or if we want to serve to the outside because we want to (keep their middle) from hitting, we serve to force her to pass the ball so (we keep) her from hitting.”
Bryan Fazio covers USF volleyball and can be reached at email@example.com