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SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPICS

Notes

September 14, 2000|MIKE KUPPER

Scoring in international volleyball matches has changed since the the 1996 Atlanta Games, and U.S. men's Coach Doug Beal says that has tightened the competition and made for a more exciting game.

"Rally scoring takes teams from the ends of the spectrum and consolidates them closer to the middle," Beal said. "It's easier to win or lose a set, and that makes it pretty exciting."

In the new format, rally scoring is used, rather than scoring only off the serve. In the best-of-five-set matches, each of the first four sets is played to 25 points. If a fifth set is needed, it goes to 15 points.

Also new in is volleyball's version of football's free safety, the libero. This player, restricted to the back row, can replace any other player any number of times. He or she can play defense and pass, but cannot serve, attack or block. The libero--"libero" is the Italian word for free--wears a different colored jersey from the rest of the team.

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