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No Bull: Sports Lingo Explained

Victor E. Bull

Volleyball More Than Bump, Set, Spike

Whether volleyball is played on a court composed of sand or on the rubberized Sport Court of Alumni Arena, its statistics are put into six categories: serve, set, attack, kill, dig and block.

A serve begins each point of a match. Once the ball reaches the other side of the net, the team tries to score a point—to do so, one teammate sets up another teammate to attack. A set typically precedes an attack with the setter of the team most likely putting the ball into playing position for one of the hitters. An attack occurs when the ball is sent over the net with the intention to score a point or a kill. If the ball reaches the floor and is inbounds, a kill has been accomplished and a point is scored. However, if the team saves the ball from touching the ground, the attempt is considered merely an attack, similar to a shot on goal versus an actual goal in soccer.

The defensive save is called a dig, typically the strong suit for the team’s libero (a back-row, ball-control specialist—a position cre-ated in 2002). Another way to protect a point from being scored is to block an attack. This occurs when one or more players ap-proach the net, reach their arms up, and reject the ball from coming over the net.