/vol"ee bawl'/, n.
1. a game for two teams in which the object is to keep a large ball in motion, from side to side over a high net, by striking it with the hands before it touches the ground.
2. the ball used in this game.
[1895-1900, Amer.; VOLLEY + BALL1]

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Game played by two teams of six players each, in which an inflated ball is volleyed over a high net.

Each team tries to make the ball touch the court within the opposing side's playing areas before it can be returned. A team is allowed to touch the ball three times before returning it. The team that first scores 15 points wins the game. Volleyball was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan in Holyoke, Mass. It soon proved to have wide appeal for both sexes in schools, playgrounds, the armed forces, and other settings. International competition began in 1913, and volleyball became an Olympic sport in 1964. Beach volleyball, a variation with two players on a side, has grown increasingly popular and became an Olympic sport in 1996.

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▪ 2009

      The United States returned to the top of the volleyball world in 2008. The U.S. captured the men's gold medal at the Olympic Games in Beijing, downing Brazil 20–25, 25–22, 25–21, 25–23 in the final match, while Russia swept Italy 25–22, 25–19, 25–23 to take the bronze medal. The Americans' leading scorer, Clayton Stanley, was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player (MVP) as the U.S. earned its first Olympic indoor volleyball gold since 1988. The U.S. men also claimed their first Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) World League title, defeating Serbia 26–24, 23–25, 25–23, 25–22. The Americans were led by four-time Olympian Lloy Ball, who was chosen as tournament MVP.

      In women's competition, Brazil spoiled the Americans' Olympic gold medal sweep by posting a 25–15, 18–25, 25–13, 25–21 victory over the U.S. MVP honours went to Brazil's Paula Pequeno. China secured the bronze with a 25–16, 21–25, 25–13, 25–20 victory over Cuba. Prior to the Olympics, Brazil notched its seventh FIVB Grand Prix championship. Cuba took the silver, and Italy collected the bronze.

      In Olympic beach volleyball competition, Americans Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser claimed the men's gold medal, defeating Brazil's Marcio Araujo and Fabio Luiz Magalhães 23–21, 17–21, 15–4 in the final match. Dalhausser was tabbed the men's tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Fellow Americans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (May-Treanor, Misty, and Walsh, Kerri ) captured their second consecutive Olympic gold with a 21–18, 21–18 triumph over Tian Jia and Wang Jie of China. May-Treanor was selected as the women's Most Outstanding Player. This marked the first time that the same country claimed both beach volleyball gold medals at the same Olympics.

Richard S. Wanninger

▪ 2008

      The United States swept the titles at the 2007 Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) world beach volleyball championship, held in July in Gstaad, Switz. In the women's competition, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh collected their third successive world title when they defeated Tian Jia and Wang Jie of China 21–16, 21–10. Americans Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser were crowned men's world champions following a 21–16, 21–14 triumph over Russia's Dmitry Barsouk and Igor Kolodinsky.

       Brazil captured its fifth consecutive FIVB World League men's volleyball title in 2007 by defeating Russia 18–25, 25–23, 28–26, 25–22. In the bronze medal match, the U.S. downed Poland 25–19, 25–21, 22–25, 25–19. This marked the best American World League finish since 1992. Ricardo Garcia of Brazil was chosen the tournament's Most Valuable Player (MVP). The finals were played in Katowice, Pol., where Brazil had also won the 2001 World League crown.

       The Netherlands captured its initial FIVB Grand Prix title after beating Russia 21–25, 25–18, 25–13, 20–25, 15–8. The Dutch women went undefeated in the five final-round matches. China and Italy placed second and third, respectively, while three-time defending champion Brazil finished fifth. Manon Flier of The Netherlands earned MVP honours for her performance.

      Italy, the women's European champion, scored an 11-game sweep at the women's World Cup (held in Japan in November) to win its first World Cup title. Brazil and the U.S. finished the tournament in second and third place, respectively, and thus qualified (with Italy) for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. At the men's World Cup, played in Japan from November 18 to December 2, perennial powerhouse Brazil won for the second consecutive time. The Russian and Bulgarian men also qualified for the Beijing Olympics.

Richard S. Wanninger

▪ 2007
 For the fourth year in a row, Brazil won the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) World League men's volleyball title in 2006, coming back from a two-game deficit to edge France 22–25, 23–25, 25–22, 25–23, 15–13. Russia, the host of the finals in August, swept Bulgaria 25–20, 25–19, 25–19 for the bronze medal. Brazil's Gilberto Godoy Filho (known as Giba) was voted the tournament's Most Valuable Player (MVP). Five continents were represented in the competition, which was expanded from 12 teams to 16 in 2006, with Egypt making its World League debut.

      The Brazilian women claimed their third consecutive FIVB Grand Prix title, with a 25–20, 25–20, 23–25, 25–17 triumph over Russia. Sheilla Castro of Brazil was named MVP. Italy claimed the bronze medal in the six-team round-robin final, which was staged in September in Italy. It was Brazil's sixth victory in the event's 14-year history.

      Both the men's and the women's FIVB world championships were held in Japan. In the men's final on December 3, Brazil downed Poland 25–12, 25–22, 25–17 to collect its third straight world title. Giba was again MVP. Bulgaria came from behind to beat Serbia and Montenegro and claim the bronze medal. Russia edged Brazil 15–25, 25–23, 25–18, 20–25, 15–13 on November 16 to earn the women's crown. The bronze went to Serbia and Montenegro. The women's MVP was Yoshie Takeshita of Japan.

      The 2006 SWATCH FIVB World Tour men's and women's beach volleyball champions also hailed from Brazil. The women were led by the tandem of Juliana Felisberta da Silva and Larissa França, while on the men's side, Ricardo Alex Costa Santos and Emanuel Rego and the duo of Fábio Luiz de Jesus Magalhães and Márcio Henrique Barroso Araújo finished one–two in the rankings.

Richard S. Wanninger

▪ 2006

      In 2005 Brazil continued to show why it was the world's top-rated volleyball nation. The men's team won its fourth Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) World League title in five years, downing host Serbia and Montenegro 14–25, 25–14, 25–19, 25–16 on July 10 to capture the world's top event. Cuba edged Poland in five sets to collect the bronze medal. Ivan Milkovic of Serbia and Montenegro was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) in his nation's fourth successive World League medal performance. In the women's Grand Prix championship, staged a week later in Sendai, Japan, MVP Paula Pequeno helped Brazil beat Italy 25–20, 22–25, 25–21, 27–29, 15–7 to capture the title for a fifth time. Cuba garnered the bronze medal in the six-team round-robin final. At the $2 million Grand Champions Cup, held in November in Japan, the Brazilian men defeated all five opponents to capture the title. The U.S. and Italy finished second and third, respectively. The women from Brazil also went unbeaten in five matches, and the U.S. placed second, followed by China. Brazil's André Nascimento and Sheilla Castro were named the tournament MVPs.

 The 2005 FIVB beach volleyball world championships were held in Berlin in June. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the U.S., the 2004 Olympic gold medalists, won their second successive world championship crown. The American duo beat Juliana Felisberta da Silva and Larissa França of Brazil 21–17, 21–17 for the title. China's Tian Jia and Wang Fei scored the bronze with a 21–13, 21–17 win over Dalixia Fernández Grasset and Tamara Larrea Peraza of Cuba. The men's final was an unexpected matchup between Brazil's Marcio Araujo and Fábio Magalhães and Sascha Heyer and Paul Laciga of Switzerland. The Brazilians won 22–20, 21–12 for their first world championship. In the all-German bronze-medal match, Julius Brink and Kjell Schneider defeated Marvin Polte and Thorsten Schoen 16–21, 21–17, 15–10.

Richard S. Wanninger

▪ 2005

      In 2004 Brazil was the world's capital for men's volleyball. Brazil's team won the men's indoor volleyball gold medal at the Olympic Games in Athens with a 25–15, 24–26, 25–20, 25–22 victory over Italy. (Russia upended the U.S. to capture the bronze.) The gold medal completed a cycle in which Brazil had won every trophy on the men's international scene, including the 2002 world championship and the 2003 World Cup and World League titles. Six weeks before the Olympics, Brazil had triumphed over Italy for its fourth World League championship (and its third in four years). Serbia and Montenegro claimed the World League bronze medal with a win over Bulgaria.

       Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos also scored a win over Javier Bosma and Pablo Herrera of Spain to earn the gold medal for Brazil in the men's Olympic beach volleyball competition. The Swiss duo of Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel downed Australia's Julien Prosser and Mark Williams for the bronze.

      In women's indoor volleyball, China rallied to beat Russia 28–30, 25–27, 25–20, 25–23, 15–12 and claim its second Olympic gold medal. The victory capped an amazing year for China, which had won the 2003 women's World Cup and World Grand Prix titles. Cuba, the three-time defending women's Olympic champions, collected the bronze medal after downing Brazil. At the 2004 Grand Prix tournament, Brazil beat Italy to capture top honours, while the U.S. defeated Cuba to finish third.

      The U.S. gained two medals in women's Olympic beach volleyball. Misty May and Kerri Walsh were awarded the gold following a 21–17, 21–11 triumph over Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede of Brazil. Meanwhile, Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs scored a 21–18, 15–21, 15–9 win over Australia's Natalie Cook and Nicole Sanderson to net the bronze.

Richard S. Wanninger

▪ 2004

      Misty May and Kerri Walsh of the United States upset the Brazilian defending champions, Adriana Behar and Shelda Bruno, 21–19, 21–19 in the final of the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) 2003 beach volleyball world championships, held in Rio de Janeiro in October. Australia's Natalie Cook and Nicole Sanderson collected the bronze medal with a 21–16, 21–17 win over Americans Jenny Jordan and Annett Davis. May and Walsh had captured five titles in the 2003 FIVB World Tour and had finished no lower than fourth in 8 of the 12 World Tour events. They took second place in the FIVB overall rankings behind Ana Paula Connelly and Sandra Pires Tavares of Brazil.

      One week later Brazil's Ricardo Alex Costa Santos and Emanuel Rego, the world number one ranked duo, defeated Americans Dax Holdren and Stein Metzger 21–18, 21–15 in the final of the men's beach volleyball world championships. The bronze medal was awarded to Benjamin Insfran and Marcio Henrique Araujo of Brazil after Portugal's Luis Miguel Maia and João Carlos Brenha were unable to play because of an injury.

      In the $15 million men's World League finals, held in Madrid in July, Brazil triumphed 3–2 over Serbia and Montenegro. Italy finished third after defeating the Czech Republic. Martin Lebl of the Czech Republic was the top spiker, while the top server and blocker was Andrija Geric of Serbia and Montenegro.

      China captured the 2003 women's World Grand Prix following a 3–0 victory over defending champions Russia in the final in Andria, Italy. The U.S. placed third overall in the 12-team competition. Russian players dominated the awards, with Yekaterina Gamova (top scorer), Yelizaveta Tishchenko (top spiker), and Anastasiya Belikova (top blocker) each earning individual honours.

      Brazil, Italy, and Serbia and Montenegro earned spots in the 2004 Olympic Games following top-three finishes in the men's World Cup, while Brazil, China, and the U.S. qualified for the Olympics via top-three finishes at the women's World Cup.

Richard S. Wanninger

▪ 2003

      In men's volleyball Brazil and Russia proved that they were the world's best with gold-medal performances at the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) world championships and World League, respectively. At the world championships, in Buenos Aires, Arg., in October, Brazil rallied to defeat Russia in five sets to capture the title. France downed Yugoslavia for the bronze. Argentina's Marcos Milinkovic was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. In the $15 million World League, Russia had proved too powerful for Brazil and charged to a 3–1 victory over the host country in the final match on August 18 in Belo Horizonte. It was the Russian team's first World League title. Yugoslavia won the bronze medal over eight-time World League winner Italy. Ivan Miljkovic of Yugoslavia won the best scorer award, and Russia's Aleksey Kuleshov was tabbed the best blocker.

      Italy rewrote the history books when it took home the 2002 women's FIVB world championship title by defeating the U.S. for its best-ever performance in women's international competition. Russia claimed the bronze medal with a triumph over China. Danielle Scott of the U.S. was voted top blocker, and Yumilka Ruiz Luaces of Cuba was the tournament's top scorer. In the FIVB World Grand Prix, Russia triumphed over China to claim its third title in the $1 million volleyball tournament.

      In beach volleyball the U.S. pair of Kerri Walsh and Misty May won five tournament crowns and the overall title in the 11-event World Tour. Brazil's two-time world champions, Adriana Behar and Shelda Bruno Bede, and Australians Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst placed second and third, respectively. On the men's tour Argentina's duo of Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde captured the world title over two teams from Brazil.

Richard S. Wanninger

▪ 2002

      The U.S. women's volleyball team made a large step toward reestablishing itself as a world power with a victory in the ninth World Grand Prix, held in Macau, China, in August 2001. It defeated the host country 3–1 in the final. The U.S. had won the team title in 1995 and had not returned to the final since. Russia, which swept Cuba in three games to capture the bronze medal, finished among the top three for the sixth consecutive World Grand Prix season. In the semifinals the Americans had upset Russia, and China beat defending champion Cuba. Danielle Scott of the U.S. was named the best scorer and blocker; teammates Stacy Sykora and Robyn Ah Mow were tabbed the best digger and best setter, respectively.

      In the men's $15 million World League finals, held in Katowice, Pol., in June, Brazil captured its first team title since 1993 as it dethroned Italy 3–0. Italy had won the previous two titles and 8 of the 11 championships. Russia downed Yugoslavia to garner the bronze medal, its fifth World League medal in six campaigns. The 2001 campaign also marked the largest field of nations (16) competing in the World League since its inception in 1990. Yugoslavia's Ivan Milijkovic was named the best scorer, and Mauricio Lima of Brazil was tabbed the best setter.

      In beach volleyball the Brazilian duo of Adriana Behar and Shelda won their second straight world title, defeating fellow Brazilians Sandra Pires and Tatiana Minello in the final at the women's world championships in Klagenfurt, Austria, in August. Eva Celbova and Sona Dosoudilova of the Czech Republic beat Americans Elaine Youngs and Barbra Fontana for the bronze. Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde of Argentina defeated Brazilians Ricardo and Loiola to win the men's world championship. Jørre André Kjemperud and Vegard Høidalen of Norway captured the bronze over Americans Christian McCaw and Rob Heidiger.

Richard S. Wanninger

▪ 2001

      One dynasty continued in the world of volleyball, while another fell short in its quest for gold, at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. The Cuban women's team won the Olympic gold medal for a record third successive Olympiad by defeating Russia in a dramatic five-set match. The Russians led the match two sets to none before the powerful and talented Cubans, led by Regla Torres and Regla Bell, won the final three games en route to victory. Brazil downed the U.S. for its second straight Olympic bronze medal. Meanwhile, Yugoslavia, the bronze medal winner at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, Ga., claimed its first Olympic gold medal in men's volleyball. It defeated Russia in three straight games after upsetting three-time defending world champion Italy 3–0 in the semifinals. Both victories avenged preliminary-round losses. Italy, the 1996 Olympic silver medalists, downed Argentina to garner the men's bronze medal.

      In the second Olympic appearance for beach volleyball, Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana of the U.S. captured their first-ever international title when they upset Zé Marco de Melo and Ricardo Santos of Brazil 12–11, 12–9 to win an Olympic gold medal. Jörg Ahmann and Axel Hager of Germany won the bronze medal for the initial Olympic volleyball medal for Germany. Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst of Australia (1996 Olympic bronze medal winners) claimed the women's gold following a 12–11, 12–10 triumph over Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede of Brazil, while Sandra Pires and Adriana Samuel of Brazil collected the bronze. The Sydney Olympics drew 180,000 spectators to set a record for the most fans ever at a beach volleyball tournament.

      The $10 million men's World League was captured by Italy for the eighth time in 11 years. The women's World Grand Prix in August proved to be a preview for the Olympics, as Cuba won the eight-team tournament, followed by Russia and Brazil.

Rich Wanninger

▪ 2000

      In 1999 Italy won the World League title for the seventh time in the 10-year history of the multimillion dollar competition, despite finishing second in its pool during the regular season. The Italian team bested defending champion Cuba in the finals, three games to one, after the Cubans had suffered just one loss during the regular season. Brazil downed Russia for third-place honours in the 12-team competition.

      The top three countries in the World Cup for men and women each earned qualifying positions for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Cuba continued to hold its mastery of women's volleyball with its fourth World Cup championship in a row. Russia and Brazil finished second and third, respectively, to earn spots at the Olympics.

      In the men's competition, Russia, led by the tournament's Most Valuable Player, Roman Yakovlev, won its fifth men's World Cup crown and one of three automatic Olympic berths. Italy, the defending World Cup champ, Cuba, and the U.S. finished with the same record. Owing to a tiebreaker, Cuba and Italy captured the other two Olympic spots, while the U.S. earned its second successive fourth-place World Cup finish and fifth consecutive top-four placing at the World Cup. The nine remaining Olympic spots would be settled through qualification tournaments held in 2000.

      Brazil and the U.S. continued to rule beach volleyball, which was scheduled to make its second Olympic appearance in 2000. Brazil's Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede won the 1999 women's world title, while countrymen Emanuel Scheffer and José Loiola claimed the men's world crown. Two dozen two-person squads would qualify for the Olympics.

Rich S. Wanninger

▪ 1999

      In 1998 two significant rule changes were instituted by volleyball's international organization—the Fédération Internationale de Volley Ball (FIVB)—to speed up the sport, which often included matches on the elite level that lasted more than three hours. The creation of the "libero" position added more defense and specialization to the sport. The libero was a defensive specialist, who was allowed an unlimited number of substitutions to play in the back row. The libero could not serve, block, or set the ball in front of the three-metre line. This new rule, which began as an experiment in 1996 and was used at each of the major international events in 1998, allowed smaller volleyball players to play on the international level. The experiment was to be fully adopted for the 1999 campaign.

      The FIVB also announced changes to the scoring system for international volleyball matches. The scoring system for the best-three-of-five matches was altered so that the first team to register 25 points in rally scoring (and to lead by two points) would win the game. This rule was to be installed for the first four games of each match, while the fifth game would be played to 15 points. Teams would be allowed to score regardless of whether they served or started on defense. Previously, rally scoring was used in the fifth games, and only the serving team could score points during the first four games.

      On the court in 1998, Cuba and Italy won the women's and men's titles, respectively, at the world championships in Japan. For the Cuban women, it marked the second consecutive world championship and sixth major title, while Italy, which had failed to win at the Olympic Games, captured its third successive world championship crown.


▪ 1998

      In 1997 volleyball ranked among the fastest-growing sports in the world. More than 200 nations were members of the Fédération Internationale de Volley Ball (FIVB), the world governing body for the sport, and more than 130 million people played volleyball annually, according to the FIVB. In an attempt to adapt the sport and to reduce the length of matches, which often exceeded three hours, the FIVB was exploring several options. The increased use of rally scoring (point-per-serve scoring) was one of the major components of these plans, as was the potential introduction of a halftime. In addition, some playing tactics were being revised. The utilization of jump serves and overhand serve receptions was on the increase, and back-row hitters were becoming a more integral part of the offensive attack.

      The inaugural World Grand Champions Cup, the major international tournament of the year, took place in Japan in November. Russia captured the women's title, and Brazil claimed the men's crown. In the men's World League, established in 1990, Italy won its sixth title. Russia captured the women's World Grand Prix. On the U.S. scene, Stanford won both the men's and women's National Collegiate Athletic Association volleyball titles.

      At the FIVB World Championships of Beach Volleyball, held in Los Angeles in September, U.S. men's and women's four-person teams both captured gold. The men defeated Brazil two games to none in just over an hour, with scores of 12-4 and 12-6, while the U.S. women needed only 40 minutes to beat Australia 2-0 (12-2, 12-5). Brazil beat the American teams to win the gold medal in both the men's and women's pairs. Owing to the increasing popularity of beach volleyball, the number of professional and amateur tournaments throughout the world, as well as prize moneys for the pro tours, was increased for 1998.


▪ 1997

      Cuba in 1996 captured its second consecutive Olympic gold medal in women's volleyball at the Centennial Games in Atlanta, Ga., and The Netherlands improved upon its runner-up finish at the 1992 Olympics to claim its first Olympic men's volleyball gold medal. Both U.S. indoor teams were disappointing after having posted impressive performances in 1995. Considered one of the gold medal favourites, along with Cuba and China, the U.S. women lost to the eventual champions in the quarterfinals and placed seventh overall. They improved somewhat later in 1996, with a fifth-place finish at the $1.5 million World Grand Prix. Brazil upset Cuba to capture the Grand Prix crown. The U.S. men placed ninth in the 12-team field, its worst Olympic finish since failing to qualify at the 1976 Games.

      In the Olympic debut of beach volleyball, Karch Kiraly (see BIOGRAPHIES (Kiraly, Karch )) and Kent Steffes defeated fellow Americans Mike Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh. As a result, Kiraly became the first Olympic volleyball player to capture three Olympic gold medals (1984 and 1988 indoors). Jackie Silva and Sandra Pires defeated Monica Rodrigues and Adriana Samuel Ramos in the all-Brazil women's beach volleyball gold medal match.

      In the college competition UCLA won the 1996 NCAA men's volleyball championships, and Stanford made it a California sweep by collecting the national collegiate women's title. (RICHARD S. WANNINGER)

▪ 1996

      The United States women's and men's volleyball teams reinforced their places among the world's elite following their impressive 1995 campaigns. The U.S. women posted more than 50 victories, including their first major international tournament championship in the $2 million World Grand Prix. Tara Cross-Battle of the U.S. won the Most Valuable Player honours during the five-week tournament, in which the U.S. triumphed in 14 of its 15 matches, including its final 12. Elaina Oden of the U.S. was named the best blocker during the competition.

      The U.S. men posted several major victories during the campaign, including three wins over world power Cuba and triumphs over reigning Olympic champion Brazil and defending world champion Italy. They also won a silver medal at the Pan American Games but failed to reach the play-offs in the $6 million World League. The team was anchored by three players from the 1992 Olympic bronze medal team, Bob Ctvrtlik, Scott Fortune, and Bryan Ivie. The U.S. men were seeking to capture their fourth successive Olympic medal in 1996 (they took golds in 1984 and 1988 in addition to the 1992 bronze).

      World Cup competition took place late in the year in Japan. At the men's tournament in Tokyo, Italy defeated the U.S. 15- 8, 15-5, 15-4 to clinch the championship and become the first country to earn an invitation to compete in the sport in the 1996 Olympic Games. The women's tournament, held in Osaka, was won by Cuba.

      Beach volleyball was to make its Olympic Games debut in Atlanta, Ga., in 1996. The U.S. and Brazil appeared to be the strongest teams. (RICHARD S. WANNINGER)

▪ 1995

      At the 1994 men's world championships in Greece, the Italians reclaimed the top spot, adding to their first-place finish in the World League. The U.S. may have been the biggest surprise, however, capturing the bronze medal with victories over reigning Olympic champion Brazil and perennial power Cuba. Two-time Olympic medalist Bob Ctvrtlik, Scott Fortune, and Bryan Ivie appeared to have resurrected the U.S. as a world power in time for the 1996 Olympic Games. The $6 million World League was won by Italy, as the prize money doubled and the fan support increased. The Italians defeated Cuba in the finals, while Brazil placed third.

      At the women's world championships in Brazil, Cuba continued to hold the top spot, winning the title with a triumph over an upstart Brazilian squad. The U.S. placed sixth after dropping matches to Cuba and bronze medalist Russia. In the $1.5 million world grand prix, held at various sites in Asia, Brazil won the championship. Cuba finished second and China was third.

      In U.S. college competition Penn State won the men's championship by defeating the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). It was the first time in the 25-year history of the tournament that a college outside California had won the title. Stanford University beat UCLA 3-1 for the women's championship.

      Beach volleyball continued to make its presence known as the Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg became the first multisport event to include it. Liz Masakayan and Karolyn Kirby of the U.S., the reigning world champions, won the gold medal, while all-world performer Sinjin Smith and Bruk Vandeweghe also collected a gold medal for the U.S. in the men's competition. (RICHARD S. WANNINGER)

▪ 1994

      As the year following the 1992 Olympic Games, 1993 was expected by many to be slow and uneventful; nonetheless, the world of volleyball continued to grow. The $3 million World League for men, consisting of two six-team divisions and contested from mid-May to early August, completed its fourth season. Defending Olympic gold medalist Brazil captured the championship over Russia, and three-time reigning champion Italy settled for third-place honours after beating Cuba. The U.S. finished ninth but defeated runner-up Russia. Bryan Ivie and Bob Samuelson of the U.S. were members of the victorious World League all-star squad, which defeated Brazil at the World Gala in August.

      The $1 million women's World Grand Prix was inaugurated in 1993. The winner was 1992 Olympic champion Cuba, which defeated Brazil in the championship match. China beat Korea to gain third place; the U.S. women placed seventh. In 1994 the World Grand Prix would expand to 12 teams in round-robin play after utilizing 8 teams in 1993.

      For the U.S. 1993 marked a transition period as many of the veterans retired or took their volleyball skills to the beach. However, the growth of the sport throughout the nation was cause for optimism for the future.

      Qualification for the 1994 world championships took place during autumn, and the U.S. men's and women's teams both qualified for the event. The men were among 16 teams that would vie for the world title in Greece, while the women's championships, also with 16 teams, were to be held in Brazil.

      Beach volleyball received a huge boost during the year when the International Olympic Committee added two-person volleyball to the competition schedule for the 1996 Olympic Games. (RICHARD S. WANNINGER)

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 game played by two teams, usually of six players on a side, in which the players use their hands to bat a ball back and forth over a high net, trying to make the ball touch the court within the opponents' playing area before it can be returned. To prevent this a player on the opposing team bats the ball up and toward a teammate before it touches the court surface—that teammate may then volley it back across the net or bat it to a third teammate who volleys it across the net. A team is allowed only three touches of the ball before it must be returned over the net.

      Volleyball was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan, physical director of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in Holyoke, Massachusetts. It was designed as an indoor sport for businessmen who found the new game of basketball too vigorous. Morgan called the sport “mintonette,” until a professor from Springfield College in Massachusetts noted the volleying nature of play and proposed the name of “volleyball.” The original rules were written by Morgan and printed in the first edition of the Official Handbook of the Athletic League of the Young Men's Christian Associations of North America (1897). The game soon proved to have wide appeal for both sexes in schools, playgrounds, the armed forces, and other organizations in the United States, and it was subsequently introduced to other countries.

      In 1916 rules were issued jointly by the YMCA and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The first nationwide tournament in the United States was conducted by the National YMCA Physical Education Committee in New York City in 1922. The United States Volleyball Association (USVBA) was formed in 1928 and recognized as the rules-making, governing body in the United States. From 1928 the USVBA—now known as USA Volleyball (USAV)—has conducted annual national men's and senior men's (age 35 and older) volleyball championships, except during 1944 and 1945. Its women's division was started in 1949, and a senior women's division (age 30 and older) was added in 1977. Other national events in the United States are conducted by member groups of the USAV such as the YMCA and the NCAA.

      Volleyball was introduced into Europe by American troops during World War I, when national organizations were formed. The Fédération Internationale de Volley Ball (FIVB) was organized in Paris in 1947 and moved to Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1984. The USVBA was one of the 13 charter members of the FIVB, whose membership grew to more than 210 member countries by the late 20th century.

      International volleyball competition began in 1913 with the first Far East Games, in Manila. During the early 1900s and continuing until after World War II, volleyball in Asia was played on a larger court, with a lower net, and nine players on a team.

      The FIVB-sponsored world volleyball championships (for men only in 1949; for both men and women in 1952 and succeeding years) led to acceptance of standardized playing rules and officiating. Volleyball became an Olympic sport for both men and women at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

      European championships were long dominated by Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, Polish, Bulgarian, Romanian, and Soviet (later, Russian) teams. At the world and Olympic level, Soviet (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) teams have won more titles, both men's and women's, than those of any other nation. Their success was attributed to widespread grassroots interest and well-organized play and instruction at all levels of skill. A highly publicized Japanese (Japan) women's team, Olympic champions in 1964, reflected the interest of private industry in sport. Young women working for the sponsoring company devoted their free time to conditioning, team practice, and competition under expert and demanding coaching. Encouraged by the Japanese Volleyball Association, this women's team made its mark in international competition, winning the World Championship in 1962, 1966, and 1967, in addition to the 1964 Olympics. At the end of the 20th century, however, the Cuban women's team dominated both the World Championships and the Olympics.

      The Pan American Games (involving South, Central, and North America) added volleyball in 1955, and Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Cuba, and the United States are frequent contenders for top honours. In Asia, China, Japan, and Korea dominate competition. Volleyball, especially beach volleyball, is played in Australia, New Zealand, and throughout the South Pacific.

      A four-year cycle of international volleyball events, recommended by the FIVB, began in 1969 with World Cup championships, to be held in the year following the Olympic Games; the second year is the World Championships; in the third the regional events are held (e.g., European championships, Asian Games, African Games, Pan American Games); and in the fourth year the Olympic Games.

 Beach volleyball—usually played, as its name implies, on a sand court with two players per team—was introduced in California in 1930. The first official beach volleyball tournament was held in 1948 at Will Rogers State Beach, in Santa Monica, California, and the first FIVB-sanctioned world championship was held in 1986 at Rio de Janeiro. Beach volleyball was added to the roster of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.

The game
      Volleyball requires a minimum of equipment and space and can be played indoors or outdoors. The game is played on a smooth-surfaced court 9 metres (30 feet) wide by 18 metres (60 feet) long, divided by a centre line into two equal areas, one of which is selected by or assigned to each of the two competing teams. Players may not step completely beyond the centre line while the ball is in play. A line 3 metres (10 feet) from and parallel to the centre line of each half of the court indicates the point in front of which a back court player may not drive the ball over the net from a position above the top of the net. (This offensive action, called a spike, or kill, is usually performed most effectively and with greatest power near the net by the forward line of players.) A tightly stretched net is placed across the court exactly above the middle of the centre line; official net heights (measured from the top edge of the net to the playing surface—in the middle of the court) are 2.4 metres (8 feet) for men and 2.2 metres (7.4 feet) for women. Further adjustments in net height can be made for young people and others who need a lower net. A vertical tape marker is attached to the net directly above each side boundary line of the court, and, to help game officials judge whether served or volleyed balls are in or out of bounds, a flexible antenna extends 1 metre (3 feet) above the net along the outer edge of each vertical tape marker. The ball used is around 260 to 280 grams (9 to 10 ounces) and is inflated to about 65 cm (25.6 inches) in circumference. A ball must pass over the net entirely between the antennae. A service area, traditionally 3 metres (10 feet) long, is marked outside and behind the right one-third of each court end line. At the 1996 Olympic Games the service area was extended to 9 metres (30 feet). The service must be made from within or behind this area. A space at least 2 metres (6 feet) wide around the entire court is needed to permit freedom of action, eliminate hazards from obstructions, and allow space for net support posts and the officials' stands. A clear area above the court at least 8 metres (26 feet) high is required to permit the ball to be served or received and played without interference.

      Informally, any number can play volleyball. In competition each team consists of six players (except in Olympic play as of 2000), three of whom take the forward positions in a row close to and facing the net, the other three playing the back court. Play is started when the right back (the person on the right of the second row) of the serving team steps outside his end line into the serving area and bats the ball with a hand, fist, or arm over the net into the opponents' half of the court. The opponents receive the ball and return it across the net in a series of not more than three contacts with the ball. This must be done without any player catching or holding the ball while it is in play and without any player touching the net or entering the opponents' court area. The ball must not touch the floor, and a player may not touch the ball twice in succession or with any part of the body below the hips. At the 1996 Olympics the whole body was allowed to make legal contact with the ball. A player continues to serve until his team makes an error, commits a foul, or completes the game. When the service changes (side out), the receiving team becomes the serving team and its players rotate clockwise one position, the right forward shifting to the right back position and then serving from the service area. Only the serving team scores (except in Olympic play as of 2000), points being awarded for errors and fouls committed by the receiving team, such as hitting the ball out of bounds, failing to return the ball, contacting the ball more than three times before returning it, etc. No point is awarded when side out is declared. Only one point at a time is scored for a successful play. A game is won by the team that first scores 15 points, provided the winning team is ahead by two or more points.

      The 2000 Olympics introduced significant rule changes to international competition. One change created the libero, a player on each team who serves as a defensive specialist. The libero wears a different colour from the rest of the team and is not allowed to serve or rotate to the front line. Another important rule change allows the defensive side to score, whereas formerly only the serving team was awarded points.

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Universalium. 2010.

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