LINCOLN – Nebraska high school volleyball squads will encounter several different rules when they hit the court during the 2013 season.
* The first changes involve a volleyball team’s accumulation of competition points. The state assigns competition points to different types of volleyball events during a season. Teams may only accumulate 30 total competition points prior to the district and state tournaments.
Dual matches are worth one point and triangulars are worth two points. Schools also use up two points if they play only two matches in a one-day, four-school tournament. Four-team round-robin tournaments are worth three points. One-day tournaments involving more than four schools are also three points. Tournaments lasting two or three days cost four points.
Nebraska high schools may not participate in more than five tournaments that have a competition point value of three or four. This includes conference tournaments.
In addition, no team may participate in more than 16 "matches" leading up to the postseason. Individual volleyball tournaments shall count as one match even though teams will play more than one opponent at each of those events.
* A second major change involves postseason action for Class B schools. The NSAA grouped all schools into eight districts on a west-to-east geographical basis. A north-to-south direction was used in some cases in order to decrease distance between district schools. The highest-seeded team will host the district.
All eight district winners will qualify for a substate tournament. The next eight non-district winners with the highest wild-card point averages will also qualify for substate. This will give a team in a highly-competitive district another shot to earn a state tournament berth.
All substate schools will then be grouped in a 16-team bracket based on wild-card point standings. The bracket will follow a format of 1 vs. 16, 2 vs. 15, etc. The higher-seeded team will host the substate match. Those eight winners will advance to the state tournament.
For example, the NSAA has already grouped Plattsmouth into a district with Gretna, Nebraska City and Waverly for the 2013 season. If Plattsmouth finishes the regular season with the highest amount of wild-card points of those four teams, then the Blue Devils would host the district tournament. If they win the district title, then they would advance to a substate match against either a district winner or one of the top eight remaining non-district winners.
Postseason formats for Classes C-1, C-2, D-1 and D-2 will remain the same. That format features subdistrict and district tournaments. The state tournament will feature six district champions and two wild-card teams.
All Class B district tournaments will take place Nov. 5 and all substate matches will be held Nov. 9. Class C-1 and C-2 subdistricts will either be on Nov. 4 only or Nov. 4-5. District finals in both classes will be held Nov. 8.
* Fans will likely see more line judges use flags to identify balls that land either inside or outside the out-of-bounds marker this fall. Line judges will be mandated to use flags starting in the 2014 season.
* There will also be uniform changes that must be phased in by 2016. Either the libero or her teammates must now wear a solid-colored uniform top. Numbers must be in a contrasting color to the uniform top and meet all other state specifications. Sleeves must also be the same color as the body of the uniform top.
Different art designs must also be removed from those uniforms. The only items that will be allowed on a uniform top are the school name, team name, player name and mascot.