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Sept. 10, 2016 — Enforcing 3-on-3

I didn’t want to go too much further without mentioning the fact that the National Federation voted in some rules changes this past week in the world of girls’ high school lacrosse.

One interesting rules change involves the draw, and it is a rule which not only resembles the boys’ game in its intent, but it will, I think, put an even greater emphasis on the skill of the draw-takers.

Last May, the championship finals of the “A” and the “B” divisions of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland were not just about two worthy champions, but two sophomore centers. Maddie Jenner of Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) and Hannah Glaros of Ellicott City Glenelg Country School (Md.) are deadly all-rounders who can win the draws to themselves, win the draws to teammates, or win the draws to areas of the pitch where teammates could run onto them.

To try to counteract their influence, opponents would stack the area where the ball was likely to land, then flood that area with players running in from the restraining line to create chaos and blunt the influence of the draw takers. And a lot of that chaos created dangerous checks and the swinging of sticks, much of which went unpunished.

But like in the men’s game, the new rules forbid anyone outside of the restraining lines to enter the midfield unless one team or the other has secured possession of the ball.

It’s a good rule whose time has come. I think it’s going to lead to an even greater specialization of the sport. A couple of collegiate teams have begun to develop DIRO (draw-in, run-off) specialists for both draws and ball-winning, and I think this trend is likely to expand if the draws are only going to be contested within the 35s.

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