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Basic Overview of the Game

Center Draw:
A women's lacrosse game is started with a center draw. The two opposing players stand with one foot on the centerline.  They hold their crosses in the air, back to back at about hip level so that the ball can be placed in between them. The players must remain set until the whistle is blown. They should draw their stick up and away from each other so that the flight of the ball is above their heads. A center draw is used to begin the first and second half of the game. It is also to take place after any goal scored during the game.

Goal Scoring:
The whole ball must pass over the goal line and between the posts to consitute a goal and receive a point. There are several reasons why goals can be disallowed. A goal is not counted in the following cases:

  • The ball goes in the goal after the whistle is blown.
  • The player has followed through a shot with her stick and/or body into the crease.
  • The ball enters the goal when the attacking team has more than 7 players over the restraining line.
  • The umpire has called either a dangerous shot or follow through on goal.

The Stand Rule:
When the whistle is blown, all players must stop and stand in position. The ball is considered dead until the whistle is blown again to continue game play. Therefore, players on the field may not move on a dead ball when the whistle is blown. If a time-out is called during a stand, all the players will leave their sticks where they stopped when the whistle blew and then come back to that spot to continue play after the break.

Out of Bounds:
When the ball goes out of bounds, the umpire blows the whistle to stop play and the players must "stand". Except in the case of a shot or deflected shot on goal, when a player in possession of the ball carries or propels the ball out of bounds, or when a player is the last to touch a loose ball before the ball goes out of bounds, the opponents will be awarded the ball when play resumes. Carrying/throwing the ball out of bounds is a simple change of possession.

The Throw:
In a women's lacrosse game, when indecision occurs warranting a fair and even distribution of the ball, like a "jump ball" in basketball, a throw is taken. The throw is taken by one player from each team, usually the two involved in the initial pursuit of the ball or in conflict when the indecision occured. The two players stand next to each other about 1 meter apart on the side that they are defending. On the whistle, the umpire throws the ball with a short high toss so that the two players can move in towards the game as they attempt to catch it and run or pass to a teammate. All other players must be at least four meters away from the two players involved in the throw.

The method by which a player knocks the ball from another player's stick. It is prohibited when it is: directed towards the face, uncontrolled, holding down the other's stick, or when the checker's stick is too close to the head or face. Modified checking rules begin at the modified level. Full check is used in JV and Varsity games.

Other Rules:

  • If a player commits a foul, the umpire blows the whistle and play stops. The player fouled wins or retains the ball, while the player who fouled her is moved several yards behind or to the side of the player she fouled.
  • If a major foul is committed in the arc by defense, the umpire blows the whistle, and a free shot on goal is taken by the player fouled. All defensive players are required to clear the arc to the border closest to which they were standing when the whistle blew. The attack player who was fouled takes her place at the hash mark closest to which she was standing when she was fouled. The defense must move away at least four meters from the fouled player. When the umpire blows the whistle again, the player can take a shot on goal or pass while the defense moves in.
  • Defense players may not remain in the arc without guarding another player for more than three seconds.
  • When the ball is grounded, covering it with the back of the stick's net and preventing play by another player is prohibited.
  • No players, other than the goalie, may enter the circle around the goal cage if the goalie is present.
  • When a foul occurs, the player who has fouled is allowed a free shot at the goal, with the defense pushed to the perimeter around the arc.

Major Fouls:

  • Blocking: Occurs when contact is initiated by a defender who has moved into the path of an opponent with the ball without giving that player a chance to stop or change direction.
  • Charging: Occurs when a player charges, barges, shoulders, or backs into an opponent, or pushes with the hand or body.
  • Dangerous Shot: Occurs when a player propels the ball toward the goal without control, or in the direction of a field player or the goalkeeper.
  • Misconduct: Occurs when a player conducts herself in a rough, dangerous or unsportslike manner, persistently causes infringement of the rules, or deliberately endangers the safety of opposing players.
  • Slashing: Occurs when a defender swings her crosse at an opponent's crosse or body with deliberate viciousness or recklessness, whether or not the opponent's crosse or body is struck.
  • Three Seconds: A defender may not stand within the 8 meter arc unless she is closely marking an opponenet, for more than three seconds.
  • Obstrution of Free Space: Occurs when a defender is not closely marking her opponenet and is in the free space to goal of the attack player with the ball. The attack player must have the opportunity and be looking to shoot.

Minor Fouls:

  • Goal Circle Fouls: Occurs when any part of an offensive or defensive player's body or crosse, except that of the goal keeper or deputy, enters the goal circle.
  • Warding Off: Occurs when a player guards a ground ball with her crosse or foot, removes one hand from the crosse and uses her free arm to ward off an opponent, or checks an opponent's empty crosse while she is trying to get possiession of the ball.
  • Empy Cross Check: A player may not check an opponent's crosse unless the ball is in the opponent's crosse.
  • Body Ball: A ball that hits a field player's body to her distinct advantage.