TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

March 24, 2016 — Six eyes seeing nothing

A few weeks ago, the head women’s lacrosse coach at Detroit Mercy took to social media to complain about the umpiring in a game against Oregon, one in which a player committed a number of serious fouls. The officiating crew failed in perhaps its most important mission: keeping the game safe so that players don’t have to wear helmets.

The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation suspended the player for one game for rough play and suspended the coach for taking to social media to make her case. There is no word as to whether the umpiring crew was sanctioned.

Last night, in a game held right next to U.S. Lacrosse headquarters in Baltimore, another umpiring crew failed to do another of its most important duties. This time, it was the ability to count to two.

You see, in the final five seconds of play in the first half, Johns Hopkins attacker Emily Kenul whipped a shot that missed the goal cage, but in the follow-through, her stick struck the head of a Stanford attacker. A yellow card was issued, and Stanford was set to start the second half with the ball in the center of the pitch.

So, when Kenul attempted a goal shot in the 41st minute of play and her stick struck her defender in the cheek, just about everyone at Homewood Field thought that Kenul would be disqualified with her second yellow card of the match. Yet, when the entry was made into the official electronic scorebook for the first foul, that card was issued to Miranda Ibello, who was on the left wing when Kenul made her attempt at goal. The Stanford defender who was struck had the same number (8) as Ibello, and that digit had been entered into the home book.

A lengthy discussion ensued at the scorer’s table between the umpires and the coaching staff after what was most had understood was Kenul’s second booking. Stunningly, she was allowed to remain in the game.

Oddly enough, earlier in the day, I watched an installment of the weekly Bundesliga magazine show, which focused on an officiating crew as it went through its paces from the day before the match to the moments after the game ended. Bundesliga game officials have the advantage of wireless communication as well as goal-line technology on their wrists.

But after goals and bookings, the referee writes down the identity of the scorer or the player committing a major foul with a pencil and paper in a book. The announcer made a point of saying this.

The same should be in force for a women’s lacrosse umpiring crew, and how the three officiants didn’t catch or correct their error, I’ll never know.

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