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Archive for March 13, 2017

Mar. 13, 2017 — Follow the bouncing ball

It was about 15 minutes into Saturday’s showdown between the University of Maryland and Syracuse when the game officials called timeout.

But it wasn’t because of a horn from the table to signal for a TV timeout, nor was it a coach requesting a team timeout.

Instead, the umpires came over to the scorer’s table to talk to the table.

Syracuse had taken possession of the ball and was starting its offense in the attacking third of the field. A defensive check on the part of Maryland sent the ball back towards the 35-yard restraining line. One player after another attempted to pick up the ball, but neither team could not corral the wayward sphere of yellow rubber until Syracuse picked up the ball again all the way back in its defensive third.

The umpiring crew of Liz Brush, Jodi Michna, and Mike Miller noticed that the possession clock had been reset back to 90 seconds.

The clock was put back down to about 55 seconds, and play was restarted.

One of the consequences of the addition of the possession clock in Division I women’s lacrosse this year is that umpires are going to have the burden of determining what constitutes possession of the ball.

Now, Rule 5, Section 11B of the rulebook says this about possession:

A player is in possession of the ball when the ball is in her crosse and she can perform any of the normal functions of control, such as cradle, carry, pass or shoot.

But because the stick is much shallower in the women’s game than in the men’s, a player securing the ball for a half-second is liable to be checked at any time, and, especially on artificial turf or artificial grass, the ball will lead a merry chase while the possession clock ticks.

I know Rosabella Sinclair didn’t quite envision all this when she brought the game to Northern Parkway back in 1926.