A match consists of five sets maximum. Each one of the first four sets is completed when a team wins 25 points, with a lead of at least two points over the opposing team (e.g. 25-23). In the case of a tie at 24-24, the set continues until one of the two teams takes a lead of 2 points and is declared winner of the set (e.g. 26-24).
The fifth set is completed when one team wins 15 points, having a lead of 2 points over the opposing team (e.g. 15-13). In the case of a tie at 14-14, the set continues until one of the two teams acquires a lead of two points and is declared winner of the set (e.g. 16-14 or 15-17).
The winner of the match is the team that wins three sets first.
The match begins with a service attempt. A service is hitting the ball with the aim of passing it over the net to the opposing team’s court, while standing in the “free zone”. Every play continues until the ball 'lands' on the floor within or outside the limits of the field of play.
Each team’s players are allowed to make contact with the ball three times, including contact during a defensive block on the ball, before returning it to the opposing team. The team that wins a play also wins the point. If the team receiving the service wins the play, it also wins the right to serve and its players move by one place in a clock-wise direction.
Two judges supervise the game, in cooperation with the marker and the lines’ supervisors (two or four depending on the level of the match). The two judges are placed in the imaginary extension of the central line of the court. The first judge is positioned on a (referee stand), about 50 to 80cm above the net’s highest point and is the one overseeing the game.
The second judge is responsible for the offences committed on the field. The marker is exclusively responsible for noting all acts on a list, while the lines’ supervisors oversee the contact of the ball on the court and its orbit in or out of the net’s antennas.
He is a specially trained defensive player who wears a shirt of a different colour than the rest of the team. He has the right to enter the match as a defender, a back-row player, on an unlimited number of occasions, without needing the approval of the referees. He is not allowed to serve, to spike the ball over the net, or to move into one of the front-row positions. However, his role is crucial in receiving the serves of the opposing team and in his own team's defensive play.
In the case of injury of the libero, the team coach, with the permission of the first referee, can appoint another player as libero for the rest of the game. However, the original libero cannot play again in the same match.
The ball is round. It is made of rubber or synthetic leather, while its interior is an inflatable rubber tyre or other similar material. Its colour can either be a light one, or a combination of colours. Its circumference is between 65 and 67 mm, its weight between 260 and 280 g and its atmospheric pressure 0.30-0.325 Kg/cm2.
The marker of the game grants the technical time-out, which is a pause during the match, automatically, as soon as the team that leads the score reaches the 8th and 16th point.
The person who is expelled for the rest of a set (when shown a red card by the referee) must sit in this specified area, so his behaviour can be monitored for the rest of the set.