May 23, 2024

In a move that has sent shockwaves through the collegiate volleyball community, the NCAA has introduced a controversial rule change that directly affects setters and liberos, leaving players and coaches scrambling to make sense of its implications. The decision to alter the game’s dynamics has sparked intense debate and concern among teams nationwide.

The new rule, which allows players to come into contact with the ball more than once in a single attempt, has left teams scrambling to adapt their tactics and formations. Committee members argue that eliminating this judgment call will bring more fluidity to the game and will undo the constraints on key positions crucial to a team’s success.

Eliana Posada, sophomore majoring in public relations and member of the women’s volleyball team, expressed her reservations about the rule change. “I am personally against this rule,” she stated. “To say that double contact is acceptable now feels like discrediting the work and talent it takes to set a clean ball consistently.”

Posada emphasized the pivotal role of setters in the game, describing them as the “quarterbacks of the volleyball court.” She expressed concern that the rule change could diminish the artistry and precision required of setters, potentially impacting the team’s performance.

On the other hand, Laura Walewska, junior journalism major and member of the women’s volleyball team, offered a contrasting perspective. “At first, I was very against it, but now, for college volleyball, I think it’s actually a great rule because it makes the rallies more entertaining and longer.”

Walewska acknowledged the potential benefits of the rule change for college-level play but expressed sympathy for setters aiming to pursue professional careers post-college. She noted that the rule could instill confidence in setters by eliminating the risk of double contacts being called.

Women’s volleyball Head Coach Branden Higa weighed in on the issue, highlighting the broader implications of the rule change for the sport. “Volleyball is in a critical phase of its development. The visibility of women’s sports has never been higher, and there’s an opportunity here to elevate volleyball to a major women’s sport.”

Higa acknowledged the potential impact of the rule change on the game’s accessibility and viewership, noting the NCAA’s emphasis on enhancing the sport’s appeal for television audiences. However, he expressed reservations about the rule’s effects on gameplay and player development.

“It has an effect because we will tell all of our players to hand set, and hand setting is superior to bump setting,” Higa explained. “I worry that it will cut shorter players out of the game because taller, less skilled players can just chuck the ball all over the place until they learn how to set.”

As  collegiate volleyball teams adjust with the repercussions of the NCAA’s decision, the debate surrounding  the rule change will likely persist, highlighting the complex relationship between tradition and innovation in sports. While some view the rule as necessary evolution to enhance the sport’s appeal and competition, others raise concerns about its potential impact on game play and player development. 

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