What Is a Volleyball Ace?

Volleyball and net on hardwood floor of volleyball court

In volleyball, a service ace, noted by scorekeepers as an “SA,” is one of the three possible outcomes for every served ball. Declaring a served ball an ace can be the result of four different play situations. The direct result of a service ace is a point awarded to the serving team and a noted individual or team reception error for the receiving team.

Situations Resulting in an Ace

The most common reason for awarding an ace is when the served ball lands in-bounds on the opponent's court and is not touched by any of the receiving players. It's also considered an ace if the ball is touched by a receiver and then passed to a teammate, who is unable to keep it in play. If the receiver mishandles the served ball, such as committing a double hit, the official will declare a service ace. An ace can also be the result of the receiving team being out of rotation, such as an overlap violation, which is when receiving players are out of position at the time the ball is served.