No. 8 in 100: Adapting to VB rally scoring took time

September 25, 2012 by Jose Garcia, AZPreps365

Sometimes it takes longer than you expect to adapt to change.

Take girls volleyball, for example. In 2004, Arizona experimented with rally scoring along with the best-of-five format for the first time.

But that tryout ended after only one season, as the administrators and officials who covered girls volleyball weren’t pleased that the new changes forced them to stay longer at gyms. So in 2005, Arizona returned to its volleyball scoring roots: real point scoring to 15 and best-of-three.   

But the rest of the volleyball world was leaving Arizona behind. Rally scoring was adopted first internationally in 1999.

Arizona’s high schools also couldn’t ignore that its hip volleyball peers such as California and Arizona’s club teams also were using rally scoring. So a compromise was made in Arizona.

Rally scoring for all levels and best-of-five was back in for varsity teams in 2006, but the junior varsity and freshman matches were kept at best-of-three. That’s what’s still in place today.

Still, some traditionalists prefer the original scoring rules.

“I didn’t like it (changing to rally scoring) at all,” said Horizon’s Valorie McKenzie, Arizona’s all-time leader in volleyball coaching victories. “Volleyball was unique with real point scoring. What the new rules did for the game overall is that it made it more exciting for the audience because every rally is worth a point.”

With real point scoring, only the team that is serving is allowed to earn a point.

Seeing her team lose a match after it serves the final point into the net with rally scoring is a difficult way to finish, McKenzie said. It’s like seeing a basketball team score two points despite not making a basket, McKenzie added.

But when real point scoring was being used, players complained that college coaches weren’t stopping in Arizona to recruit players. The players also wanted to speed up the game.

Arizona had no choice but to try and keep up with the Joneses.

Throughout the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years will celebrate the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s 100th anniversary by unveiling 100 of the top moments and people who helped shape the landscape of high school sports in Arizona. If you would like to recommend a story idea for this project, you can e-mail it to me or post it on our Facebook page.