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Sand Volleyball Rules

Stonewall Sand Volleyball Pittsburgh will operate under the competition rules and regulations as outlined in the Domestic Competition Rules and Regulations as adopted by USA Volleyball and available at  The rules below are specific to Stonewall Sand Volleyball Pittsburgh and supersede the rules in the USA Volleyball handbook.

  1. Match Time and Number of Sets
    1. Each match will be played as the best of 3 sets. The first two sets of a match will be played to 25, utilizing rally scoring. If a third set is necessary, it will be played to be 15, utilizing rally scoring.
    2. The first team in a set to score 25 (or 15 for the 3rd set) will be the winner of that set.
    3. If the set score reaches 24-24, the first team to reach a two-point advantage (e.g. 26-24 or 29-27) will be the winner of that set.
    4. Matches are limited to 40 minutes of playing time.
    5. If a match reaches the time limit before the completion of the deciding set, the teams will finish the current set. If the conclusion of that set does not determine the winner of the match (a 1-1 match score), then the third set will be played, but the score needed to win the set will be reduced to 10 and no game interruptions will be permitted.
  2. Playing area
    1. Due to venue availability and limitations, the designated free area around the competition area may be smaller than outlined in the USAVB rule book.
  3. Net Height
    1. For the purpose of a co-ed, recreational league, Stonewall Sand Volleyball Pittsburgh will utilize a net height of 7’9 5/8”.
  4. Team Composition
    1. A team may consist of up to 10 members including the Captain. For the purposes of league formation and placement of Free Agents, some teams may exceed this limit with the approval of League Leadership.
    2. Only team members that are registered and paid members of Stonewall Sand Volleyball Pittsburgh are eligible to play on a team. If a non-registered player is used during a match, the opposing team may notify the referee and the match will for forfeited.
    3. A team must have at least 4 players present at their scheduled match time. If a team does not present at least five players at match time, a forfeit will be recorded. After the forfeit has been recorded, the teams may choose to play a friendly scrimmage match if both captains agree to play. Any scrimmage match resulting from a forfeit must end at least 5 minutes before the beginning of the next match.
    4. A team is allowed 4-6 players on the court at a time. The number of players on the court can not change during any given set however may differ at the start of a new set.
    5. In accordance with the recreational nature of Stonewall Sand Volleyball Pittsburgh, all present eligible players from a team must play through one full serve/receive rotation before the conclusion of the second set.
    6. The play of all team members must occur within the first two sets of a match, you may have up to 2 players being substituted in each set though game play rotation.
    7. The Team Captain must present the team lineup to the referee at the beginning of each set. The team must maintain this rotational order throughout the set.
  5. The Uniform
    1. Every player must wear his or hear Stonewall Sand Volleyball Pittsburgh uniform shirt. Shirts may be modified for comfort, but the Stonewall logo and any sponsor logos must not be altered or obscured in any way.
    2. All players must have a clearly marked number on his or her Stonewall Sand Volleyball Pittsburgh uniform shirt. No two players may have the same number.
    3. It is strongly suggested that all players wear shoes on the court. This is optional, however will be done at an individual player’s own risk.
    4. Knee pads and other protective equipment are not required but can be worn.
  1. Playoffs/Final Tournament
    1. At the conclusion of the regular season, a final playoff tournament will be held.
    2. The seeding for the tournament will be determined by the following:
      1. Final standings from the regular season
      2. Intent to have teams play teams they have not played during the regular season
      3. Respect to the availability of the tournament venue and team schedules
  2. Season Standings
    1. Each week, league management will update the league standings.
    2. League standings are determined (in the following order) by:
      1. Win-loss record
      2. Overall point differential
      3. Ratio of 2-set matches won to 3-set matches won.
  3. Referees/Line Judges
    1. Each team must have at least one (1) member eligible to serve as a referee. In order to be an eligible referee, the team member must attend the referee clinic. The referee schedule will be determined following the referee clinic held before the beginning of the season.
    2. If the assigned referee is unable to serve for an assigned match, then they must notify the head referee at least 24 hours before the match or the team start down 10 to 0 for their next match.
    3. Each team will be required to provide two (2) individuals to serve as line judges. Line judges will be assigned to another match prior to the beginning of the season. If a team does not provide the two (2) line judges that week, the team will start down 10 to 0 (5 points pre missing judge) for their match that week.
  4. Forfeits and Scoring
    1. If a team is assigned a forfeit for a match due to failure to present a full team at match time, the score for that match will be recorded as 2-0 and the score for each set will be recorded as 25-15.
  5. Misconduct
    1. During the game, if a player(s) exhibits any behavior that breaches a rule of the league or the Stonewall Sports Pittsburgh organization, verbal warnings and/or removal from the match can be issued by the game’s referee.
    2. Warnings will be issued in 3 stages:
      1. Verbal warning to the Captain
      2. Verbal warning to the individual(s) committing the discretion, but in force for the entire team. Service will be given to the opposing team.
      3. Player is removed from the match by the referee. The player may be substituted.
    3. If a player(s) is removed from the match, the Stonewall Sand Volleyball Pittsburgh leadership board will review the reason for removal and meet with the individual(s) involved for further disciplinary action as outlined in the bylaws.

    11. Rule changes

    1. Any open hand hit, completed below the shoulder, will be considered a carry and called by the referee.
      1. All hits below the shoulder must be completed with a closed fist or the back of the hand only.
      2. If an open hand hit is committed, and called by the referee, the opposing team will gain the point and the service.
      3. Open hand hits may only be completed when the act of play is above the shoulder.
    2.  Each server is allowed 1 ball drop per serve.
      1. Once the ball hits the ground, the referee will call a replay and the server must again wait until the whistle is blown prior to serving.
      2. The must allow the ball to drop, with no contact being made to be considered a clean drop.
      3. If the player makes contact with the ball, prior to hitting the ground, this will be considered a fault and the opposing team will gain the point and the service.
        1. Players will receive only 1 warning per match if contact is made before hitting the ground.
    3. Players will receive 1 warning per match for a service fault. If the player crosses the boundary line prior to making contact with the ball, this will result in a replay and a warning.  If the act is committed again by the same player, following the referee’s warning, the opposing team will gain the point and the service.