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Archive for January 12, 2022

Jan. 12, 2022 — Girls’ scholastic lacrosse losing the spice of the final two minutes of play

One of the hallmarks of lacrosse as played by girls and women for the last 95 years was the fact that the clock stopped on alternate whistles in the final two minutes. This took out a lot of soccer-esque time wasting and gamesmanship. But it allowed a lot of game-play to occur in the waning seconds of play, including dramatic free-position chances or takeaways in the final seconds.

But in this new era of self-starts and free movement, there has been some tweaking of the timing rules in the National Federation and U.S. Lacrosse rulebooks.

No longer will every whistle result in a clock stoppage in the final two minutes of play. Instead, the situations for a stoppage are when:

  1. A goal is scored (except if the resulting goal leads to a lead of more than ten)
  2. A penalty card is issued
  3. A foul in the critical scoring area (an unmarked area roughly 15 yards from goal and up to 10 yards behind the goal)
  4. When a timeout is signaled by the umpire

Now, I’ve seen some crazy situations in the final two minutes of close games. I have seen goalies catch fire, I have seen defenders become unable to clear the ball out of their defensive third, and I have seen more than one mental error involving a self-start with the game on the line.

But I also remember one spring afternoon in 1990 at Geasey Field at Temple University when Penn State came into town as the defending national champion. The teams came in ranked 1-2 in the country, and I got to see up close just how frenetic the stop-time session of lacrosse could be. Temple won 10-8 on the day, but I seem to remember just how much game play could be squeezed out of two minutes.

I’m sorry to lose stop-time to end a half or overtime in the name of modernity.