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penetration under net, contact with ball (was: Beach rules question)

Todd <> writes:
> "J Parrish" <> writes:
> > Ok I have been playing on the beach for about 5 five years now and
> > this one's new to me.  While playing in my men's sand doubles
> > league I dug a ball that sailed high and appeared to be coming
> > down right on top of the net.  My partner jump to make a played on
> > the ball when he realized that the ball had carried over the net a
> > few inches so he laid off and let the ball drop.  When my partner
> > landed he stepped under the net to keep his balance, and the ball
> > hit him in the foot.  Interference right?  Well that's the call
> > was made, but my question is does it matter that the other team
> > had no play on the ball what so ever, the ball hit my partner no
> > higher then three or four inches from the sand, and the closest
> > opposing player was about  ten feet away from the ball, and made
> > no movement at playing the ball. Just Wandering if we made the
> > right call.  Thanks 
> Great question...I think this one is covered in the USAV case book in
> the outdoor rules section.  I will check to verify this, but I'm under
> the strong impression that there would be no violation here.  The foot
> is considered part of the sand in this instance.  As long as the
> person who penetrated under the net did not interfere with the
> opponent's play on the ball, no fault is committed.
> I'll check the casebook and follow up with a correction in case my
> recollection is incorrect.

This situation is more interesting than I first thought.  It may be
one for the outdoor rules interpreter.  While I strongly believe the
intent of the beach rules supports the legality of this contact, the
letter of USAV Beach 15.1.5 might suggest otherwise.

This situation is not in the outdoor section of the casebook as I
first thought, but here's the indoor interpretation of the situation
from the "USA Volleyball case book of approved rulings based on 1997-98
United States Volleyball rules as approved by USA Volleyball" (say
that three times fast):

  Rule 16.  Player at the Net
  12.   R-3 blocked a ball spiked by S-2.  R-3 then landed on the
        floor with heels on the center line and the remainder of the
        feet on the opponent's court.  The blocked ball then fell on
        the opponent's side of the net and landed on the foot of R-3.

        RULING: No penetration fault: The foot position was legal.
        The ball landing on the foot would be treated the same as if
        it had landed on the flloor.  (16.3.2 & 12.3)

You should be able to safely apply this indoor ruling to beach play,
especially since the centerline/penetration rules are more permissive
in the beach rules than in the indoor rules.  This foot position is
equally legal in outdoor play.  As Joe Arkin quoted from the USAV
Beach rules, there is no interference here because the contact did not
interfere with the opponent's play on the ball.  Such is the spirit of
the rule, methinks.

However, this situation may point out subtle weakness in the wording
USAV Beach rule 15.1.5 which states:

        A player may not contact a ball after it has crossed to the
        opponent's side through the crossing space until it is
        contacted by an opponent.

Unfortunately, a strict reading of this beach rule might mislead
someone into thinking R-3 is in  violation.  After all, your errant
pass did cross the net through the crossing space, and your partner
did contact the ball before either orf your opponents.  I don't think
such an interpretation fits the intent of the rules, unless the Beach
rules are intentionally departing from the indoor rules on this count.

It's also interesting that there is no analogous wording in the indoor
rules.  All the indoor rules that refer to this situation exonerate
R-3's contact with the ball as long as it "does not interfere with the
opponent's play."  (Indoor r16.3.1 16.2.1).  In contrast, there is no
mention of interference in Beach r15.1.5.

I suspect this is another case where the beach rules don't hold up as
well under scrutiny as the indoor rules.  :-) I've copied USAV Beach
Rules Interpreter Sue Lemaire on this posting, and hopefully she can
provide a more authoritative answer to this question.

                  Todd H.
USAV Regional Referee, Great Lakes Region, Palatine, IL
Todd's Volleyball Referee Page
"So you're a Ref and an engineer? Oh that explains it...."

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