Photo Credit: Dale Garvey

Taking a little extra time to properly make the triple check of rosters, the scoresheet and lineups prior to the start of a match and each subsequent set can prevent needless delays.

Has this ever happened to you? Three serves into the first set the scorer informs the second referee, “wrong server.” There have been no substitutions and you know the players rotated properly. How can there be a wrong server?

Valuable time is taken only to discover that the scorer recorded the lineup incorrectly on the scoresheet, the second referee did not properly check lineups, the players were not in proper order, the wrong player is on the court, a player changed numbers, or the coach wrote the wrong number on the lineup, etc. The rhythm of play is broken, people take notice and the referees have egg on their face.

Checking rosters

A match under USAV and NFHS rules requires coaches to submit rosters at least 10 minutes prior to the end of timed warmups. The referees should be proactive in obtaining each team’s roster prior to the submission deadline. The rosters can be used to verify the correct number of players are listed (NFHS only) and coaches are listed (USAV only). It is recommended the rosters are given to the second referee during the prematch conference. Under USAV rules (4.1 team composition), that is a great time to verify correct number of players are listed, whether each team is playing with a libero(s), coaches are listed, and if the coach and/or playing captain signed the roster, depending upon the level being played.

Once submitted, USAV rosters cannot be changed, except to correct a uniform number, which results in a penalty point being assessed. Under NFHS rules (Rule 7 rosters and lineups), there is an unlimited number of players that can be on a roster (unless state or local regulations limit the number). NFHS rules permit a libero to have two different uniform numbers: one for the regular uniform and one for the libero uniform. The numbers are listed side-by-side on the roster. Once submitted, NFHS rosters can change without penalty prior to the 10-minute mark. After the 10-minute mark, any changes result in a loss of rally/point being awarded to the opponent. By receiving rosters before the 10-minute mark, the referees can check them to prevent delays and/or penalties. Under NCAA rules, rosters are not utilized.

Checking lineups

Prior to the first set and each subsequent set, lineups must be submitted to the second referee or scorer at times specified by each rules code.

USAV: Prior to the first set of the match, lineup sheets must be submitted no later than the twominute mark on the clock timing the prematch warmups. For all other sets in the match, signed lineup sheets must be submitted at least 30 seconds before the expiration of the interval between sets.

NCAA: For the first set of the match, lineup sheets must be submitted no later than the threeminute mark on the clock timing the prematch warmups. For all other sets in the match, lineup sheets must be submitted at least 30 seconds before the expiration of the interval between sets. For the first set, changes may be made to the lineup sheet after it is submitted without penalty or substitution until the oneminute mark on the clock timing the prematch warmups.

NFHS: For the first set of the match, lineups must be turned in no later than two minutes prior to the end of the timed prematch warmups listing the players in proper serving order. For subsequent sets, coaches have until one minute remains on the clock timing the interval between sets, including an intermission.

The second referee can do some preventive officiating by checking each lineup sheet for readability, ensuring no number is listed twice, a libero has been designated, etc. If something doesn’t look right, verify the lineup with the coach. They will appreciate that you are helping them to avoid a penalty or using one of their substitutions prior to the start of the match or set. Whether you are working with a new scorer or a veteran that you trust, always visually verify that the lineup has been written on the scoresheet in the proper order. That important few seconds prior to each set helps to prevent human error and any disruption to the set.

NCAA and USAV players are listed on the lineup sheet by their on-court starting position. USAV further associates each position with a Roman numeral: I – right back, II – right front, III – center front, etc. Thus, the first server of the receiving team is the player listed in the rightfront position on the lineup sheet. In NFHS, players are listed on the lineup sheet in serving order, thus the receiving team’s first server is listed first in the No. 2 rightfront position at the start of each set. Under all codes, players rotate clockwise when their team gains the right to serve after winning the point. Early in the high school season it is a good practice to verify with the receiving team’s coach that they intend the first player listed to be their first server. Since some coaches coach under USAV (club) rules, they may forget that high school rules are different.

Check players’ positions on the court

The second referee checks the positions of the players on the court prior to each set. If the players are already in their serve or receive formations for the first serve, do not make them move to verify the lineup. Recognize their positions because they may be trying to hide their setter or run a special play. If something isn’t right, ask the coach or captain for assistance with placing the team in their correct order. You don’t want to visually or verbally give away player positions, so allow the coach or captain to help you with this so that players are starting in the correct positions.

While checking lineups, if a player is on the court who is not listed on the lineup sheet, he or she shall either be replaced by the player listed, or the coach can use a substitute to put that player on the court. Once you have checked that team’s lineup you will authorize the libero to enter the court, if the libero will play in the first rally.

Points should be earned during play, not for administrative items that could have been easily prevented.

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