Ace in Volleyball: 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 volleyball player or team reception error for the receiving team.

What is an ace in volleyball?

An ace is a situation in which the offensive team scores on a serve without any passers, setters or any other member of the opposing team touching it. It is a very common occurrence in a volleyball game with many beginners seeing it happen a lot due to error when playing volleyball defense. It is less likely in beach volleyball, due to the shortness of the court. Libero’s cannot score an ace because they don't serve the ball. Aces are more likely in the back row then the front row because most serves from high school aged players and up go to the back row.

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.

What is the best serve to cause an Ace?

Any serve can cause an ace, even the grade school underhand serve. However, the best ace serve for the job is an overhand serve. The float serve works very well as it is unpredictable for the opponent to tell where it will land on their team’s side of the court. However it is best for upper level players as the float serve is very hard to control and can easily be mis-hit. That is why the topspin serve is preferred, as it is easy and very ace-able. It is best to find the weakest outside hitter on their volleyball team and serve it to them to take advantage of the weak link.

Who led the NCAA in aces?

Andrea Tsvetanova of Coppin State led the NCAA in aces with 64 in 79 sets for a percentage of .81. The St.Louis Billikens led the NCAA in team aces with 186 in 78 sets with a percentage of 2.38 per set.