Girls' lacrosse is a non-contact game played by 12 players: a goalkeeper, five attackers and six defenders. Seven field players may cross the restraining line and four stay behind. The object of the game is to shoot the ball into the opponent's goal. The team scoring the most goals wins.
Girls' and women's lacrosse begins with a draw, which is taken by the center position. The ball is placed between two horizontally held crosses (sticks), placed back-to-back, at the center of the field. At the sound of the whistle, the ball is flung into the air as the crosses are pulled up and away. The sticks must come up over the players' head. A draw is used to start each half and after each goal, and it takes place at the center of the field. Only five players from each team are permitted between restraining lines at the time of the draw. Once the signal for the draw occurs, the players behind each restraining line may cross over.
The collegiate game is 60 minutes long, with each half being 30 minutes. The high school girls game is 50 minutes long, with each half being 25 minutes. In both collegiate and high school play, teams are allowed two timeouts per game, only after a goal. The restraining line, a solid line 30 yards up field from each goal, extends across the width of the field. Solid/hard boundaries were added to the game in 2006. Total length can be from 110 to 140 yards, while total width can be from 60 to 70 yards. There must always be at least 10 yards of space between the goal line and the end line at each end of the field. There is a circle in the center of the field where the draw occurs. Two arcs are marked from the center of the goal line. The eightmeter arc with hash marks four meters away from each other bisect the arc. The 12-meter fan runs out from the goal line extended. Substitution area, used by both teams, is in front of the scorer's table and is indicated by two hash marks placed 5 yards on either side of the midfield line.
Seven attacking players only are allowed over the restraining line in their offensive end and only eight defenders are allowed over the line in their defensive end. The additional defender is the goalkeeper. Players may exchange places during play, but the player should have both feet over the line before the teammate enters.
When a whistle blows, all players must stop in place. Rough checks, and contact to the body with the crosse or body, are not allowed, however, incidental body contact may occur.
Field players may pass, catch or run with the ball in their crosse. A player may gain possession of the ball by dislodging it from an opponent's crosse with a check. A controlled check (crosse to crosse contact) is an attempt to knock the ball free. No player may reach across an opponent's body to check the handle of a crosse when she is even with or behind that opponent. A player may not protect the ball in her crosse by cradling so close to her body or face so as to make a legal, safe check impossible for the opponent.
All legal checks must be directed away from the player with the ball and cannot come withina 7" sphere of the head. No player is allowed to touch the ball with her hands except the goalkeeper when she is within the goal circle. A change of possession may occur if a player gains a distinct advantage by playing the ball off her body.
Fouls are categorized as major or minor, and the penalty for fouls is a "free position." For major fouls, the offending player is placed four meters behind the player taking the free position. For a minor foul, the offending player is placed four meters off, in the direction from which she approached her opponent before committing the foul, and play is resumed.
When a minor foul is committed in the 12-meter fan, the player with the ball has an indirect free position, in which case the player must pass first or be checked by an opponent before the team may shoot.
A slow whistle occurs when the offense has entered the critical scoring area and is on a scoring play and the defense has committed a major foul. A flag is displayed in the air but no whistle is sounded so that the offense has an opportunity to score a goal. If the offense is capable of getting a shot off, the flag is withdrawn. A whistle is blown when a goal is scored or the scoring opportunity is over. An immediate whistle is blown when a major foul, obstruction or shooting space occurs, which jeopardizes the safety of a player.
Womens Lacrosse Terms
Checking: Stick to stick contact consisting of a series of controlled taps in an attempt to dislodge the ball from the crosse. Must be done Down and Away.
Clear: Any action taken by a player within the goal circle to pass or carry the ball out of the goal circle.
Cradling: When moving with the ball, a player uses her wrists and arms to turn the stick, in order to maintain control of the ball while in the stick pocket.
Critical Scoring Area: An area 15 meters in front of and to each side of the goal and nine meters behind the goal. An eight-meter arc and 12 meter fan are marked in the area.
Crosse (Stick): The equipment used to throw, catch, check and carry the ball.
Eight-Meter Arc: A semi-circular area in front of the goal used for the administration of major fouls. A defender may not remain in this area for more than three seconds unless she is within a stick's length of her opponent.
Free Position: An opportunity awarded to the offense when a major or minor foul is committed by the defense. All players must move four meters away from the player with the ball. When the whistle sounds to resume play, the player may run, pass or shoot the ball.
Free Space To Goal: A cone-shaped path extending from each side of the goal circle to the attack player with the ball. A defense player may not, for safety reasons, stand alone in this area without closely marking an opponent.
Goal Circle: The circle around the goal with a radius of 2.6 meters (8.5 feet). No player's stick or body may “break” the cylinder of the goal circle.
Indirect Free Position: An opportunity awarded to the offense when a minor foul is committed by the defense inside the 12 meter fan. When the whistle sounds to resume play, the player may run or pass, but may not shoot until a defender or one of her teammates has played the ball.
Mark Up/Marking: Being within a stick's length of an opponent.
Shooting Space Violation: When a defender is more than a sticks length away from an opponent while inside the critical scoring area in front of her own goal. Thereby obstructing incoming shots
Sphere: An imaginary area, approximately 18 cm (seven inches) which surrounds a player's head. No stick checks toward the head are allowed to break the sphere.
12 Meter Fan: A semi-circle in front of the goal used for the administration of minor fouls.
Warning Cards: A yellow card presented by an umpire to a player is a warning which indicates that she will next receive a red card and be suspended from further participation if she continues to play dangerously and/or conduct herself in an unsportsmanlike manner. A green card is presented by an umpire to the team captain indicating a team caution for delay of game.
♦ Attack players use quickness and strong stick skills to score goals and assist others.
♦ Midfielders play both offensive and defensive sides of the field. Speed and endurance are key to these positions.
♦ Defenders defend the goal by "marking" (guarding) opponents. Vision, footwork and communication are important.
♦ Goalie protects the goal with quick hands and courage, and leads the defense with strong communication skills, quick hands and feet.