A 30-27 game could be the norm when Kansas University opens its season on Aug. 31 at a tournament in Charlotte, N.C.
Rather than the customary 15-point game that had been in place since KU started volleyball in 1975, a rally-scoring system has been approved for the 2001 fall season in which games will go to 30 points. Men's college volleyball adopted the rally scoring during the 2001 spring season. In the men's NCAA championship in May, BYU beat UCLA, 30-26, 30-26 and 32-30.
"There's been a fight for years to go to this rally scoring," said KU coach Ray Bechard, about to enter his fourth season with the Jayhawks. "They think it'll be more exciting and they think they can package a product that will have a more predictable length in time. The games now are going to be about the same length. If that means more TV exposure or fan approval, I don't know."
With rally scoring, a team doesn't need control of the serve to score a point. Every time the ball hits the floor a point will be scored. The new system is designed to limit time-consuming matches and avoid lapses in which teams struggle to score a point while exchanging side-outs. Game five of matches will continue to go to 15 points with rally scoring.
Bechard is familiar with discrepancies in length of best-of-five matches. For instance, last fall the Jayhawks beat Eastern Kentucky in a three-game match that lasted 53 minutes. A month later, the Jayhawks lost a five-game heartbreaker to Texas that went 2 hours, 44 minutes.
Bechard is eager to see the new system in place.
"We've been tossing it around and arguing about it," Bechard said. "I say, 'Let's go with it.' It should be pretty interesting."
During spring scrimmages, Bechard tested the 30-point system.
"It will shorten the time of games," Bechard said. "We played a 30-point game this spring and if it had been scored the old way it would have been just 8-7."
Bechard believes rally scoring could benefit the Jayhawks and other Big 12 schools trying to catch the conference's top teams.
"This new scoring system does allow those teams that have a few less weapons or less physical presence to have a chance on a given night," he said. "Any time you shorten the game you give all the teams in the middle of the pack a chance against the more elite teams in the conference."
KU's home opener is Sept. 5 against Wichita State. The Jayhawks will hold their annual alumni match on Aug. 25.
-- Sports writer Steve Rottinghaus can be reached at 832-7152.