College volleyball is an exciting sport that is played all across the United States.

One of the most common questions that people have when they’re just starting to learn about college volleyball is how many sets are typically played in a match.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: In college volleyball, matches are typically played as best-of-five sets.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the rules and regulations surrounding college volleyball, including the number of sets played, how points are scored, and some of the key strategies that players use to succeed on the court.

Understanding the Basics of College Volleyball

College volleyball is a popular sport played by many athletes across the United States. Understanding the basics of the game is essential for players, coaches, and fans alike. Here are some important things to know about college volleyball:

The Object of the Game

The object of volleyball is to score points by hitting the ball over the net and onto the opponent’s side of the court without the other team returning it. A point is awarded to the team that successfully lands the ball on the opponent’s court, and the first team to reach 25 points wins the set. A match typically consists of the best of five sets.

The Court and Equipment

The volleyball court is rectangular in shape and measures 59 feet long by 29.5 feet wide. The net is placed in the center of the court and stands 7 feet, 4 1/8 inches tall for men and 7 feet, 4 1/4 inches tall for women. Each team is allowed six players on the court at a time, and each player must wear a uniform consisting of a jersey, shorts, and athletic shoes.

  • The ball used in college volleyball is typically made of synthetic leather and weighs between 9 and 10 ounces.
  • Players are not allowed to touch the net during play, and the ball must be hit over the net with no more than three touches per team.
  • There are specific areas on the court where players can and cannot hit the ball, and violations of these rules result in a point for the other team.

Team Composition

College volleyball teams typically consist of 12-15 players, with six players on the court at a time. The six players on the court are divided into two groups: front row and back row. The front row players are responsible for hitting and blocking, while the back row players are responsible for passing and defending.

Each team also has a designated setter, whose main job is to set up the ball for their teammates to hit. In addition, teams may have specialized players, such as defensive specialists or libero players, who are allowed to substitute in and out of the game without counting towards the team’s substitutions.

Understanding the basics of college volleyball is important for players, coaches, and fans alike. By knowing the object of the game, the court and equipment, and team composition, you can better appreciate the skills and strategies involved in this exciting sport.

How Many Sets are Played in a College Volleyball Match?

College volleyball matches are typically played as a best-of-five sets format. This means that the first team to win three sets wins the match. Each set is played to 25 points, but the team must win by at least two points. If the match goes to a fifth set, then the set is played to 15 points instead of 25.

The number of sets played in a college volleyball match may seem short compared to other sports, but it allows for a more intense and competitive game. The best-of-five format also gives both teams an equal opportunity to win the match.

Scoring in College Volleyball

In college volleyball, points are scored on every rally, regardless of which team served the ball. A team can win a point by hitting the ball over the net and landing it on the opponent’s court, if the ball is hit out of bounds by the opponent, or if the opponent commits a violation, such as touching the net or crossing the centerline.

The first team to reach 25 points in a set wins the set, but again, they must win by at least two points. If the score is tied at 24-24, play will continue until a team takes a two-point lead. If the match goes to a fifth set, the first team to reach 15 points and win by two points wins the set and the match.


In the event of a tie in a college volleyball match, a tiebreaker set is played. The tiebreaker set is played to 15 points, with the winner being the first team to reach 15 points and win by two points. The team that serves first in the tiebreaker set is determined by a coin toss.

It’s important to note that tiebreakers are not played in all college volleyball matches. Some leagues or conferences may have different rules or formats for their matches, so it’s always a good idea to check the rules and regulations of the specific league or conference.

For more information on college volleyball and its rules, check out NCAA’s official website on Volleyball rules.

Strategies and Techniques for College Volleyball

If you’re playing college volleyball, it’s important to understand the different strategies and techniques that can help you succeed on the court. Here are some key areas to focus on:


Serving is a crucial part of the game, as it’s the only time when a player has complete control of the ball. In college volleyball, teams typically serve using a jump serve, which requires a lot of power and accuracy. To improve your serving, try practicing your toss and footwork, and work on developing a consistent, powerful serve that puts pressure on the other team.


Passing, or receiving the serve, is another key skill in college volleyball. Teams typically use a three-person passing formation, with one player in the middle and two players on either side. To improve your passing, focus on staying low and balanced, and use your platform (i.e. your forearms) to direct the ball to your setter.


Setting, or putting the ball in position for a hit, is one of the most important skills in volleyball. In college volleyball, setters typically use a “back set” or “front set” to position the ball for their hitters. To improve your setting, work on your footwork and hand placement, and practice setting to different areas of the court.


Hitting, or spiking the ball over the net, is one of the most exciting parts of volleyball. In college volleyball, hitters typically use a variety of different attacks, including the cross-court shot, the line shot, and the tip. To improve your hitting, focus on your approach and timing, and work on developing a powerful, accurate attack that can score points for your team.


Blocking, or stopping the other team’s attack, is another key skill in college volleyball. Teams typically use a combination of solo blocks (where one player jumps to block the ball) and double blocks (where two players jump together to block the ball). To improve your blocking, focus on your footwork and timing, and practice reading the other team’s attack to anticipate where the ball will go.


Digging, or saving the ball from hitting the ground, is another important part of college volleyball. Teams typically use a combination of diving digs (where a player dives to the ground to save the ball) and standing digs (where a player uses their platform to save the ball). To improve your digging, focus on your footwork and reading the other team’s attack, and practice reacting quickly to save the ball.

How to Get Involved in College Volleyball

If you are interested in playing volleyball at the college level, there are several options available to you. Here are a few ways to get started:

Playing at the Intramural Level

If you just want to play volleyball for fun and don’t want to commit to a more competitive team, consider joining an intramural league at your college. Intramural sports are a great way to meet new people, stay active, and improve your skills without the pressure of a varsity team.

According to statistics from the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), volleyball is one of the most popular intramural sports on college campuses. In fact, in 2019, nearly 24% of all intramural participants played volleyball.

Joining a Club or Travel Team

If you are looking for a more competitive volleyball experience, consider joining a club or travel team. These teams often compete against other colleges and universities and offer a higher level of play than intramurals.

There are many club and travel teams across the country, and they range from highly competitive to more recreational. Some teams require tryouts, while others are open to anyone who wants to play.

Check with your college’s club sports office or visit the USA Volleyball website for more information on club and travel teams in your area.

Pursuing a College Volleyball Scholarship

If you are an elite volleyball player and want to play at the varsity level, you may want to consider pursuing a college volleyball scholarship. These scholarships are awarded to athletes who have demonstrated exceptional talent and potential on the court.

According to the NCAA, there are over 1,000 colleges and universities that offer women’s volleyball programs, and over 700 that offer men’s volleyball programs. However, the number of scholarships available varies by division and by school.

If you are interested in pursuing a college volleyball scholarship, you should start by researching schools that offer volleyball programs and reaching out to their coaches to express your interest. You can also work with a recruiting service or attend volleyball camps and showcases to get your name in front of college coaches.


College volleyball is a popular and exciting sport that requires skill, strategy, and teamwork.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced player, it’s important to understand the rules and regulations of the game in order to succeed on the court.

By playing with passion, practicing your skills, and staying committed to your team, you can make the most of your college volleyball experience and achieve your goals on and off the court.

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