Format & Rules

Questions? Contact David Hawes (

The Bellaire Volleyball Middle School Tournament will host 32 teams competing for a championship in the largest middle school tournament in Houston.  The tournament format matches competitively comparable opponents and guarantees each team plays 3 pool games and 3 bracket matches.  Tournament participants should plan to arrive by 7:30 AM.


Teams will play in only one division.  The objective behind divisions and brackets within divisions is to create more evenly matched competitions among teams with comparable skills and experience.  The objective is to increase the number of points being scored by both teams, create closer final scores and reduce the chance of “blow-out” competition.  Forming 8 team brackets within divisions further enables evenly matched competitions.

School coaches and administrators choose
the division for their teams during tournament enrollment.  All divisions utilize the same competition format; guaranteeing 3 pool games and 3 bracket matches for every team.  All Divisions are limited to 16 teams must must have a minimum of 8 teams participate to form. 

Premier Division is for teams with a typical competitive profile for an 8th grade team where most players have competed in the prior year on the school team.  Teams within the Premier division do *NOT* have multiple club players on their roster. 

Classic Division is for teams with players at the very early stages of their volleyball experience and have a developmental skillset profile without many, if any, travel/club players on the roster.  Seventh grade players are allowed on 8th grade teams in this division.


Pool assignments are based upon tournament seeding
  • Teams are seeded 1 through 16

  • Teams are assigned to one of 4 pools using a serpentine pattern (see chart to the right). 

  • Pool playing schedule is assigned by pool seed
Tournament seeding is never perfect; but, a significant effort is made to ensure fair seeding.  Teams’ initial seeds are based upon prior year’s competitive performance as seventh graders and prior years’ competitive outcomes at the Bellaire Middle School Volleyball Tournament (program strength).

A key tournament objective is providing a positive, fun, experience for players and offering teams opportunities to compete against schools which are not typically scheduled during the regular seas
Tournament Seed Pool Seeding
Seed 1 Pool 1 - Team A
Seed 2 Pool 2 - Team A
Seed 3 Pool 3 - Team A
Seed 4 Pool 4 - Team A
Seed 5 Pool 4 - Team B
Seed 6 Pool 3 - Team B
Seed 7 Pool 2 - Team B
Seed 8 Pool 1 - Team B
Seed 9 Pool 1 - Team C
Seed 10 Pool 2 - Team C
Seed 11 Pool 3 - Team C
Seed 12 Pool 4 - Team C
Seed 13 Pool 4 - Team D
Seed 14 Pool 3 - Team D
Seed 15 Pool 2 - Team D
Seed 16 Pool 1 - Team D


Pool Schedule:



Format: 1 Set to 25, cap at 30



Set Opponents

8:00 AM

Set 1


Team A

Team C

8:30 AM

Set 2


Team B

Team D

9:00 AM

Set 3


Team A

Team D

9:30 AM

Set 4


Team B

Team C

10:00 AM

Set 5


Team C

Team D

10:30 AM

Set 6


Team A

Team B

Pool Game Format

  • Each pool game is one set to 25 (cap at 30).  Teams must win by 2 points.
  • 2-2-1 warm-up for pool games.  If pool games run behind schedule, officials may reduce or eliminate pool game warm-ups to save time.
  • R1 & R2 referees, Scorekeeper will be provided.  Each team may be asked to provide one Line Judge for each set.
  • First pool game begins at 8 AM.  Pool game competition is expected to be end by 11:00 AM.

  • ** Continuous competition, pool game times are approximate.  As soon as a pool game is over, teams in the next game begin warm ups.

  • Each 4 team pool is assigned one court to play all games within that pool.


  • All teams make either the Gold or Silver Bracket (16 team).
  • Teams earn a bracket seed based upon where they finished in their pool.  (see table on the right)
  • The bracket pairs seeds in a way where teams from the same pool avoid competing in the first and second rounds of bracket competition. (see bracket below)

Tie Breaking Rules For Pool Finish

  1. The order of pool finish is determined by the most head-to-head wins within the pool competition.

  2. When teams are tied in win/loss percentage, the team finish will be based upon *points ratio* (points against / points for) to order the finish.

  3. When two or more teams remain tied in points ratio, head-to-head competition will determine the finish order.

  4. If a tie still remains, a coin flip(s) would determine the winner(s).
Pool Finish Bracket Seed
Pool 1 - First Gold Seed 1
Pool 2 - First Gold Seed 2
Pool 3 - First Gold Seed 3
Pool 4 - First Gold Seed 4
Pool 4 - Second Gold Seed 5
Pool 3 - Second Gold Seed 6
Pool 2 - Second Gold Seed 7
Pool 1 - Second Gold Seed 8
Pool 1 - Third Silver Seed 1
Pool 2 - Third Silver Seed 2
Pool 3 - Third Silver Seed 3
Pool 4 - Third Silver Seed 4
Pool 4 - Fourth Silver Seed 5
Pool 3 - Fourth Silver Seed 6
Pool 2 - Fourth Silver Seed 7
Pool 1 - Fourth Silver Seed 8


  • Same format for both Gold and Silver brackets in both Open and Premier Divisions.
  • Every team plays 3 bracket matches, using the 2 out of 3 format with two sets to 25 (cap at 30) and the “if-necessary” third set to 15 (cap at 20).  Bracket match sets are won by two points before reaching cap.
  • 3-3-2 match warm-up format, where each team has 3 minutes hitting and 2 minute combined serving.
  • First round pairings avoid teams from the same pool competing until the third round..


  • Continuous competition.  As soon as a match is over, the next match begins.  Arrive 15 minutes prior to mach play.  Teams without 6 players when called to the end line prior to a match will forfeit the first set.
  • First and Second Referees (R1 and R2) plus Scorekeepers (3) will be provided.  Every effort to supply two Line Judges is made; but, if necessary, each team may be asked to provide one Line Judge for each match.

Schedule for 8 Team Bracket


Format: win 2 of 3 sets (2 sets to 25 with cap at 30, 3rd set to 15 with cap at 20)



Match Opponents



Match Opponents

11:00 AM

Match 1


Seed 1

Seed 7

Match 2


Seed 2

Seed 8

12 Noon

Match 3


Seed 6

Seed 4

Match 4


Seed 3

Seed 5

1:00 PM

Match 5


Win Gm 1

Win Gm 3

Match 6


Win Gm 2

Win Gm 4

2:00 PM

Match 7


Lose Gm 1

Lose Gm 3

Match 8


Lose Gm 2

Lose Gm 4

3:00 PM

Match 10


Win Gm 7

Win Gm 8

Match 9


Lose Gm 7

Lose Gm 8

4:00 PM

Match 12


Win Gm 5

Win Gm 6

Match 11


Lose Gm 5

Lose Gm 6


Paid admissions will be the same as previous year.

  • $6.00, Adults
  • $3.00, Students ages 5 to 18.
  • Children under 5 admitted free
  • Free admission for officials, referees, coaches and their uniformed players.



  • Each team competing for a bracket championship will receive a plaque.
  • All-Tournament Team members will receive metals


NFHS Volleyball Rules will apply to all matches with the following additions and clarifications:

UIL Compliance: Pool play and bracket play is within compliance of UIL rules regarding the number of matches played by a middle school team in a Saturday tournament. (Source: UIL Volleyball Manual).  The Bellaire Volleyball tournament competition format is less than the maximum play allowed under UIL rules for a weekend tournament.

Concessions: No outside food or drinks is allowed inside venue. Players, coaches, and parents found violating this rule will be asked to remove the items from the gym area and may be asked to leave the facilities.  Team members are allowed to bring inside their own water and sports drinks; but, ice chests/coolers and team tables must remain outside of the venue.

Trainer: No designated trainer for this tournament. Coaches from each school are responsible for attending to their player’s injuries. 

Officials:  First and Second Referees (R1 and R2), scorekeepers (3) will be provided.  Each school should provide one Line Judge for each match.  Team parents are permitted to line judge.

Warm-up Time: Warm up begins immediately at the completion of the prior match.  Officials have the discretion to eliminate or modify warm-up time. 

Pool game warm-up time (2-2-1) 2 minutes team passing, 2 minutes hitting for each team followed by 1 minute of combined/shared team serving.  After the first and second pool competitions, warm up can be eliminated or reduced by the court officials to ensure on-time pool competitions.

Bracket match warm-up time (3-3-2) 3 minutes shared team passing, 3 minutes hitting for each team followed by 2 minutes of shared team serving.

Continuous Play:  Pool game and bracket match times are approximate.  Teams not present at the start of warm ups will forfeit a set in the competition.  No time is scheduled between matches.

Forfeiture:  Teams not having six players when called to the end line at the beginning of a game will forfeit the first set. The team will forfeit the next game and match if they do not have six players within ten minutes after forfeiting the first game.

Protests:  Only rule interpretations can be protested, not judgment calls made by the officials. A protest must be filed at the time of the infraction and settled before the set continues. A committee of the First Referee, the Second Referee and the tournament Head Official (Ap Clarke) or designee of the Head Official will resolve the protest.  The three members of the committee will vote to deny or uphold the protest; their decision is final.


David Hawes - Tournament Director -

Ap Clarke - Bellaire Head Volleyball Coach -