Understanding the Free State’s new prep sport

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Tuesday night a new era starts in high school sports in Jones County.

At approximately 7 p.m., Northeast Jones will host South Jones in The Jungle in the first official high school volleyball match played in the Free State.

The Lady Mustangs of West Jones will play their first volleyball match on the road at Meridian High tonight and will host Jefferson Davis County High on Thursday in the first volleyball match played at WJHS.

Over the coming weeks, game recaps and photos will appear in these pages. Terms “like ace,” “attack,” “block,” “campfire,” “dig,” “floater,” “jump serve,” “kill,” “setter” and “spike” will likely accompany some of those recaps. This lexicon is commonplace in the world of volleyball, but many of the terms may sound foreign.

Volleyball matches are played in sets and a match is completed when two out of three sets are won by one team. Each set is played until one team has reached 25 points and the team that wins the set must do so by at least two points. If the first two sets are split, the third and deciding set, is played to 15.

Each set starts with one team serving to the other until their service is broken. A point is awarded to the team that gets the ball to hit the floor on their opponent’s side of if their opponent hits the ball out of bounds.

After the serve, no side can make contact with the ball more than three times before it crosses back over the net and no player can make contact with the ball twice in succession.

There are six players on the court at one time for each team. Usually three players are in the front row and three are in the back row. The front row is sectioned off by a line 10 feet from the net, called the “attack line” or the “10-foot line.” Front-row players are not confined to this section of the court but this is where most of their playing takes place. The three players behind the “10-foot-line” cannot cross the line and make contact with the ball.

Positions for each team are numbered 1 through 6 and start with the server in the back right corner as No. 1. Then going in a counter-clockwise direction, the rest of the positions are numbered. The direction of the rotation is clockwise. After the server finishes, the other team gets the ball. Once the previous team that was serving gets the ball back, everyone shifts to the right one spot and the  player who was previously in the No. 6 position takes over as the server.

These are the basic rules and principles of playing a volleyball match. For more information on the rules and how to play the game, click HERE.