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Volleyball Scoring Rules

author image A.G. Moody
A.G. Moody is a multiple award-winning journalist who has been writing professionally since 2000. He has covered everything from business to health issues. His work has appeared in the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" and numerous other newspapers and magazines. Moody earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Eastern Washington University.
Volleyball Scoring Rules
Rally scoring is the most common method of scoring in volleyball. Photo Credit volleyball girl image by alice rawson from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>


There are two scoring methods used for volleyball. The first is known as sideout scoring, which basically means the only team that can score is the team that is serving. If the non-serving team hits the ball in the opponents' court or their opponents make an error, they earn the right to serve only. With rally scoring, either team can score regardless of who the serving team is. Games typically must be won by a minimum of two points with both scoring systems.

Rally Scoring

With rally scoring, teams score a point when the other team fails to return the ball over the net, hits the ball out of bounds, commits an infraction or makes a service error.

Sideout Scoring

In sideout scoring, the serving team scores a point when the opponents fail to return the ball over the net, hit the ball out of bounds or commit an infraction. The non-serving team will earn the right to serve when the opponents fail to return the ball over the net, hit the ball out of bounds, commit an infraction or make a service error.

Rally Game Parameters

In rally scoring, games are played until a team scores 25 points, provided there is at least a two-point margin of victory. Matches are typically decided by the best three-out-of-five games format. If a fifth game is played, the team that scores 15 points first is the winner, provided there is a two-point margin of victory.

Sideout Game Parameters

With sideout scoring, all games are played to 15, provided there is at least a two-point margin of victory. Some organizations will put a cap on sideout scoring, so that the first team to reach 17 points is the winner of a game, even if the two-point margin is not present.

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