Christopher Ferguson, Campus Carrier Asst. Sports Editor
|CARRIER FILE PHOTO|
|The woman’s lacrosse team completed last season second place in the Southern Athletic Association. With the NCAA implementing the new rule, the Vikings look forward to another successful season.|
Just as the leaves will be changing soon, so will the sport of women’s lacrosse. The Lady Vikings will be preparing for the spring season by testing the boundaries of a new rule that is being implemented across all levels of play. Deemed the “free movement rule,” it is designed to increase the pace and flow of the game by allowing players to continue moving after the official blows the whistle.
Previously, all players had to stop on the whistle and assume different positions while maintaining four meters distance from the player with the ball. Under the new rule, players can keep moving after a foul or violation while the player possessing the ball restarts play. A two meter non-engagement area will be established around the player given possession of the ball, however, the player can continue running with the ball. Players will be free to move outside the non-engagement area but cannot engage the opponent until play has restarted.
This new rule may pose a problem for the Lady Vikings as they approach this upcoming season with only 14 athletes. This could potentially complicate things because there are normally 12 athletes competing on the field at any given time. That leaves the starting 12 with only two substitutions throughout the whole 60-minute game. More movement on the field will tire the players out more quickly, which may be difficult for a small team with limited subs.
Despite this implication, assistant coach Morgan Jackson said the ladies will respond well to the change.
“The girls seem really interested in the new rule, and we have the talent this year to respond well.” Jackson said. “We’re going to have to work harder and smarter this year, but I believe they are up for the challenge.”
Although she is optimistic about the ladies’ response to the changes, Jackson still understands there will potential drawbacks that could result.
“Although it allows players to get in better defensive positions with constant movement, the defenders will have less of an opportunity to catch their breath,”Jackson said “This will definitely benefit teams with larger rosters that are in better shape.”
Senior defender Shadae’ Williams is excited for the new rule as it affects her position and mindset.
“There are lots of reasons to get fouls in the girl’s game” Williams said. “Now there is going to be much less of a loss in momentum.”
Jenn Leahy, also a senior defender, has her reservations about the new rule but is excited to see what aspects of the game will be changed.
“There is definitely a disadvantage in clearing the ball now. If the defender is fouled while clearing, the attacker can stand two meters in front of them when they used to have to stand behind them” Leahy said.“This complicates things because now a decision has to be made whether to run past the attacker, or throw the ball to another teammate.”
The Lady Vikings have quite the reputation to maintain. Last year, the team finished second place in the SAA (Southern Athletic Association). They will be able to test the new rule and their numbers as they start this fall season.