THE SPORT OF LACROSSE

The layout of a women's lacrosse fieldLacrosse is a sport for both women and men. This website, however, focuses on women's lacrosse. Women's lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. It is most popular in the Northeast region of the U.S., but it is quickly emerging in high schools and colleges on the West Coast and even in the south. In fact, after studying developing trends in college athletics and women's sports, the University Athletic Association decided that lacrosse was the best sport to add to the University of Florida's iconic athletic program. The Gator's Women's Division 1 Lacrosse team finished its inaugural season in spring of 2010.


The field, on which the sport is played, measures 110 to 140 yards from endline to endline and 60 to 70 yards from sideline to sideline. On each end of the field there is a cirlce, called a crease, in which the goal sits. In front of the crease is an 8-meter fan that consists of five hash marks, and outside of that is a 12- meter arc. Many of the penalty shots are taken from the 8-meter hash marks. These penalty shots often provide the most exhilarating moments of the game because all defenders must clear the shooting lane, leaving the shooter with a direct shot on the goal.


There 12 players from each team on the field at one time, 24 players total. There are three defensive players that play in front of their goalie and three offensive players that play on the other end of the field in front of the opposite goalie. There are five players in the middle who play the whole field. The game is broken down into two, thirty minute halves, with a 10 minute break between halves.


For more about the sport and the rules, go to the U.S. Lacrosse website.


THE GOALIE


The goalie is a defensive position. A goalie from each team plays in the crease on either side of the field. No other player is allowed inside the crease, unless the goalie steps out - then a defender can step in.


A goalie in the lacrosse goal

The goal measures six feet wide and six feet tall. She must protect the whole thing using her body and a goalie stick.


A goalie's job is to keep the ball from going in the net, or goal, that stands behind them. The ball may be shot up high or on the ground; the goalie must be ready for any type of shot.


Once she makes the save, the goalie then has to clear, or throw, the ball to a teammate in order to get the ball back on the offensive side of the field. In order to do this, she may either stay in the crease and throw the ball, or run outside the crease and clear it.


Unlike field players, the goalie must wear padding due to the solid rubber lacrosse ball that is used on the field. She must wear a helmet, a chest protector, gloves and shin guards if she chooses to. Some goalies prefer shin guards because low shots typically hit and bruise them, while others prefer not to because it hinders their speed.


A goalie's stick is larger than a field player's stick due to the large area in which the goalie must protect. The head of the stick is nearly twice the size of the head of a field player's stick. Experienced goalies use the larger stick to their advantage, and come out of the crease often to aid the defense in getting the ball back.


REFERENCES FOR THIS PAGE

Lacrosse at Florida: History
U.S. Lacrosse