NCAA Approves Some Signficant Changes For Collegiate Volleyball

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Ferris State head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm gives her thoughts on the new volleyball rule changes.
The 2008 season promises to be an exciting and unique one for the Ferris State women's volleyball team as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women's Volleyball Rules Committee and the Playing Rules Oversight Panel has approved numerous rule changes in an effort to positively impact collegiate women's volleyball beginning with this upcoming campaign.

The primary reasons for the changes are to shorten the matches and try to bring collegiate volleyball up to speed with the international game.

What Ferris State volleyball fans used to know as a "game" is now being referred to as a "set." Each set used to be played to 30 points and will now be played to just 25 points with the winner still needing to win by two points. The fifth and deciding set if necessary will still be played to 15 points.

"The change to 25 points is a positive move," said Ferris State head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm, who will begin her 13th year at FSU this 2008 season. "It's appropriate for us (collegiate volleyball) to be at the same scoring level as the international game."

Another significant change is the number of substitutions have been reduced from 15 a set to 12.

"This rule was certainly not expected and to me the justification wasn't a valid one," said Brandel. "However with that said, we certainly must adjust our recruiting efforts to adapt to this rule change. We're going to recruit more well-rounded players.

"I believe this rule limits us (coaches) in some of the choices we make. Unfortunately, the best player for that position might not be able to play in the game, added Brandel.

Another controversial rule has been ball handling errors. This particular rule has been addressed by the rules committee and fans at this season's matches will notice a leniency from the referees.

The belief of the NCAA is that with the increase of athleticism in women's athletics, that athleticism should be highlighted. The national organization also wanted to emphasize continuation of play and consistency in ball handling judgment.

Ferris State will open its 2008 season Thursday, Aug. 28, hosting the Aquinas Saints in a non-conference match at FSU's Ewigleben Sports Arena in Big Rapids, Mich. A 7 p.m. (EDT) start time is scheduled for the match. The Bulldogs then host the Ferris State Invitational, Aug. 29-30, with FSU competing in four non-league matches during the two-day period.

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