I don't always agree with my good friend Tony Baranek, who has been covering volleyball for the Sun-Times' sister paper, The Southtown Star, seemingly since William Morgan invented volleyball in 1895 at the YMCA in Holyoke, Mass. - some would say even before then.
But this time, I wholeheartedly do.
Tony recently penned a column about the disparity between the USAV and National Federation of High School Associations rules governing contact with the net. The USAV allows it (with some restrictions) while high school rules forbid it in all cases.
Tony does not like the rule allowing net contact, and neither do I.
Tony points out that by allowing aggressive play sat the net, you are just asking for kids from both sides to be fearlessly leaping right at the net and landing on each others' feet. Also, it would create a real mess for the officials, who will have more judgment calls than ever to make regarding whether the net contact affected the outcome of the play.
And if I know some (not all, but some) interested parties, an official's interpretation rarely coincides with theirs.
Officials from the Illinois High School Association said a rule change wouldn't take place unless a directive came from the NFHSA, and NFHSA officials said it wouldn't consider adopting the new club rule unless they heard from member state associations that were interested in seeing a change.
I hope the NFHSA never hears from high school coaches. It is bad enough that a serve that tips off the tape can dribble over the net and count as a point. I miss the old days when any serve that even nicked the net was considered a missed serve.
It's like the hanging on the rim rule in high school basketball. I have seen it called, but mostly I have seen it ignored. Players will continue to push the envelope on that rule as long as it is open to an "officials' interpretation."
Of course, I am a purist. I covered tennis for many years and believe that for a ball to be put in play, it cannot touch any object before it touches the ground (other than the serve recipient's partner in doubles, which I always got a kick out of. If I were serving, I'd always aim for the partner. Why risk a return?).
In volleyball, I believe that as long as it is illegal to block a serve, a ball should not be allowed to touch the net on a serve. Nor do I believe that a player under any circumstances should be allowed in the net.
I lost the first argument. I don't want to go 0-for-2.
Congratulations to Marist's 6-foot-4 junior Lauren Zielinski, who recently committed to the University of Georgia, and to West Chicago's 5-10 junior Julia Conard, who has verbally committed to attend Illinois where she is projected as either a libero or defensive specialist.
Apparently, it's not a good year for the Illinois senior class.
Prepvolleyball.com has released the first half of its Senior Aces list, which ranks the top 100 recruits in the Class of 2011. Only one Illinois senior, Wheaton Warrenville South's Shealyn Kolosky, cracked the list of players ranked 50-100.
Here's what John Tawa of Prepvolleyball.com had to say about the Tennessee-bound Kolosky:
At 6-2 and with a legitimate touch above 10-0, Kolosky has ideal size, athletic ability and skill for the middle blocker position. Kolosky is physical -- she hits high and hard and is a big block. She also possesses a fast arm swing, which makes her a capable attacker both in front of and behind the setter. Playing for Sports Performance, Kolosky has received tons of training and match experience playing middle at a high level. She'll be ready to contribute right away when she gets to Tennessee, where she has committed.
Prepvolleyball.com also listed the last 15 players out of the top 100. That list included Cary-Grove's Kelly Lamberti, who is headed to Ohio in the fall of 2011.
The players ranked Nos. 1-50 will be announced later this week. Stay tuned.