Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

April 29, 2018 — A view to a more physical future

A couple of summers ago, the American lacrosse community was first exposed to a new lacrosse league, United Women’s Lacrosse. At the same time, it was exposed to a new style of lacrosse, one where the umpires seemingly swallowed their whistles and let the players decide the game rather than call minor fouls all over the place.

That tendency has spread into the women’s college game with, I think, some detriment.

A major talking point was the final minutes of play in today’s ACC championship game between Boston College and North Carolina. The last seven or eight minutes were very chipping and physical, culminating in one of the worst fouls I’ve seen on a girls’ or women’s lacrosse field since 2014.

On the play, Boston College’s Christina Walsh was led into the midfield by teammate Sam Apuzzo’s smart pass. She had an open lane to goal from the midfield and ran into the arc, whereupon she was cross-checked from behind by UNC defender Kara Klages.

Walsh flew forward, her head striking the bottom hand of another UNC close defender, drawing blood.

A straight red card was issued.

Barely 70 seconds earlier, North Carolina was making a self-start in the attacking third when Boston College defender Hannah Hyatt took not just a slash, but a full swing from behind in order to try to dislodge the ball from her opponent.

That only received a yellow, but it reminded me of an indoor lacrosse incident that I saw on a black-and-white newsreel when the players wore nothing on their heads but knitted caps. Presumably, the players were assumed to have a certain amount of respect for each other’s heads.

I believe that respect is rapidly eroding in the free-movement era of women’s lacrosse, and it’s not a good thing to see.


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