While the talk concerning the upcoming Nevada high school volleyball season has centered on the new rally scoring system, Carson coach Daryl James said another new rule not receiving as much attention should have a bigger impact on matches.
That rule will allow teams to double hit the first ball that comes over to the net. In effect, there will be times when a player is unable to cleanly hit a ball when returning a serve or hit that it will still be allowed as long as the player keeps the ball in play.
James said while he understands the intent of the rule, he still believes high school players need to learn the art of passing the ball as its known as bumping.
"I think bumping the ball is a fundamental of volleyball," James said. "I think everybody should do it. You've got to be able to pass the ball."
"I'm not teaching that way," James also said about trying to take advantage of the new rule. "I think that's the bigger rule change as far as affecting the game."
In rally scoring, a point is awarded on every play. In the past, points were only rewarded to the serving team. Games will go to 25 points as opposed to 15 in the past with a fifth game of the best three-of-five match going to 15, although teams still have to win by two points.
James said the matches will still come down to what they've always come down to -- serving and siding out.
"I'm not so sure that it really matters," James said. "I'm telling our girls to blast away."
Close matches will still come down to who can make the big save or big block, James said.
James said he didn't believe that rally scoring doesn't put more pressure on the server, even though now the receiving team will receive a point when the serve goes out.
"You get a point when they serve it out, too," he said. "Those things are usually going to even out. It's going to be about the same game."
In another change, when serves hit the net and land over on the other side, the serving team receives a point of the receiving team can't make a play. In the past, when a serve hit the net, the receiving team was given a sideout. "It only happens once a game, if at all," James said.
"I think they're trying to keep the ball in play more," James said about the new rules. "I don't think it changes the game that much. We'll adapt.
"We'll play whatever the rules are. I think it will be kind of fun. I'm looking forward to it."
Carson has a relatively inexperienced team this year, but does return five players, including two starters.
"We're OK," James said. "We're new. We only have two players who played much back. We lost 80-90 percent on our offense. But we have replacement parts so I think we'll be competitive."
One of the returning starters is setter Tabitha Adams. "We do have one of the best setters in the league in Tabby," James said. "But Tabby can do only so much."
Carson's other returning starter is outside hitter Kaitlin Brush, Adams and Brush are three-year starters. "They're playing very well as I expected," James said.
Another returner is 6-2 sophomore Nicole Scott, who played varsity as a freshman. She will be a middle blocker along with another sophomore, Catherine Brekken. The other returners are outside hitter Adrian Fletcher and defensive specialists Erin Amodei.
Carson has 11 players and all 11 figure to contributer. There's also outside hitters Sydney Parker, Lindsey Kern and Colleen Etcheverria, outside hitter/defensive specialist Melanie Norvel and defensive specialist Jenna Mechum.
The Senators aren't the only team hit hard by graduation. "A lot of people have left," James said. "The league was strong last year and I'm sure they all have replacement parts, too. I would expect the same teams will be strong again. They always are.
Reno, I respect their program. Douglas and South Tahoe ought to be very good. They've got some good players but so does everybody else. It will be a dogfight again, as usual."
Carson has already participated in a scrimmage with another traditional power, Fallon. "They're legitimate," James said. "They're going to be good."
Galena should also again be among the top teams. Another major change is that only one Northern 4A team will advance to the four-team state championship in Southern Nevada.
"It'll be real tough with just one team going," James said. "I think I've been an advocate for years. I think we've been sending too many teams to state.
"I'm not sure a lot of those teams have much of a chance to win state anyway. I think four is better."
Carson opens its season Sept. 5 and 6 in the Reno Tournament. "We've got decent height," James said. "We're decent everywhere, we'll just have to see how they hold up because they're so young experience-wise. I'm happy with them.
"They've been working hard. They're a fun group to be with. I'm pleased with the progress."