Volleyball Rules

NFHS Volleyball rules shall apply to all games, except any of the following adaptations. 

Players and Substitutes

  1. A minimum of 4 players is required to start a match.
    1. No more than 6 players can play at one time.
  2. Co-rec gender combinations can be
    1. 3 men & 3 women
    2. 3 men & 2 women
    3. 3 women & 2 men
    4. 2 men & 2 women
  3. Open teams have no gender requirements.
  4. Teams are allowed an unlimited number of substitutions per set.
    1. Teams my substitute player for player OR a rotation substitute.
    2. A player may substitute for any player at any time during set.
  5. GVSU IM Sports does not utilize the libero.


The Match

  1. A match shall consist of three sets.
    1. The first team to win two sets shall be the winner of the match.
    2. The first two sets shall be 25 points (cap of 27), and a team must win by two points.
    3. The third and deciding set shall be 15 points (cap of 17), and a team must win by two points.
  2. There will be no cap in the third set only of a playoff game.
  3. A point will be scored on each serve after a fault is committed (rally scoring).
  4. Prior to the start of the first set, the referee will hold a pregame captain’s meeting with rock-paper-scissors.
  5. The winner of rock-paper-scissors can choose to serve or which side to play the first set
    1. The other team gets the remaining option. Teams will switch sides and serve to start the second set
    2. If a third set is necessary, another game of rock-paper-scissors will occur.
  6. Teams get two (60 sec) timeouts per match.
  7. Sportsmanship
    1. Yellow cards may be issued for sportsmanship related issues, including consistent dissent towards game officials, disrespect of opponents, facility equipment or game officials. 
      1. If a player is issued a yellow card, the opponent of the offending team will be awarded the serve and two points
    2. Red cards may be issued for flagrant sportsmanship related issues, including threatening or malicious actions towards an opponent or game official. 
      1. Two yellow cards on one players = red card
      2. If a player is issued a red card, the opponent of the offending team will be awarded the serve and three points. The offending player will be disqualified from the match. 

Playing the Ball

  1. Players may use any part of their body, including their feet to contact the ball.
  2. Players may not make consecutive touches of the ball
  3. A team must return the ball across the net with 3 or less hits
  4. The ball may be played if it strikes the ceiling or any overhead obstructions and falls on the same side of the court AND the team has not already played it three times.
  5. A ball touching any part of a boundary line is considered in-bounds.
  6. Players are not permitted to catch, hold or throw the ball.

The Serve

  1. The server may serve from any point behind the end line and between the sidelines.
  2. The server must contact the ball before they touch inbounds or anywhere outside the sidelines.
  3. The server has ten seconds to serve after the referees whistle.
  4. A serve may hit the net and continue over to the opponent's side.

Net Play

  1. A ball contacting the net is still in play
    1. A ball contacting an antenna or net supports is dead
    2. A ball contacting the net, but not going over may be played if a team has not used its three hits for return.
  2. Blocking the serve is illegal
  3. A block does not count towards one of a team’s three hits for return.
  4. A player may not contact the net with any body part, except their hair, nor may a player’s foot or hand completely touch their opponent’s side of the court under the net.

Page last modified October 11, 2023