Gary Gait: Women’s lacrosse new rules create a ‘totally different’ game

first_imgUPDATED: Feb. 1, 2018 at 2:48 p.m.For the second-straight year, the NCAA has announced a set of new rules that will drastically change collegiate women’s lacrosse.This year’s modifications affect draw controls, goal interpretations, yellow cards and self-starts. Most importantly the changes implement free movement. The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved the alterations to “increase pace and flow of the game,” this past summer.“It’s a totally different game,” SU head coach Gary Gait said last Thursday. “Fans are going to be pleasantly surprised.”A 90-second possession clock was added in 2017 to eliminate “stalling,” or teams holding onto the ball to bleed out the clock, and encourage more scoring. The clock came after Syracuse was a victim of the “freeze-tag” type of game in its 10-8, national championship game loss to Maryland four years ago. SU head coach Gary Gait was a big proponent of a possession clock last season, and he said he is a fan of the new rules this year as well. Gait and the Orange will see the impact of the changes when the season begins on Feb. 9 against Connecticut.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAccording to the NCAA’s press release, a majority of coaches were in favor of the rule changes. The rules committee also stated that the last two years’ changes, specifically the addition of a shot clock and the ability to self-start, laid the foundation for this year’s rules.In 2018, when a foul is called, every player except the one in possession of the ball can move freely. In seasons past, when an official blew a whistle for a foul, all players had to stop moving until whomever had possession restarted play. If officials believed a player on either team had moved before the restart, they reserved the right to reposition them.There will be a two-meter “non-engagement” area around the player awarded the ball before she resumes play. If a defender enters the area, their team will receive an initial warning. More infractions will lead to a green card and a one-minute penalty. Players will also be allowed to self-start in the last two minutes of each half and in overtime and when the ball goes out of bounds.“The free movement takes away having that step or two in front of your defender,” sophomore attack Emily Hawryschuk said. “At the same time, you can catch them off guard.”Gait said these rule changes will reduce the length of games. SU’s contests in 2017 lasted about two-and-a-half hours, he said. In 2018, Gait said games will be two-hours long and in turn, be more enjoyable for fans. Syracuse had one day of practice this fall where it practiced free movement and Gait called it “amazing.” The Orange’s fall season was eventually cut short due to a campus-wide mumps outbreak.“(Games) are going to be fast,” Gait said. “The whistles are going to be reduced, more than cut in half, I believe. There will be no delay of moving players around.”Another impending rule change regards what is and isn’t a goal. This year, if a player releases a shot before or at the same time that an official blows a whistle, the shot is live and will count as a goal if it enters the net. Before this season, a shooting space foul — the act of a defender impeding a shot’s path — would negate a score. The same concept applies if a shot is released before the game clock expires.Morgan Widner, a sophomore draw-control specialist, may benefit from a rule change that limits the number of players that can be in the midfield area. Under the new standards, each team can only have three players in the midfield until possession is clearly established. Widner set SU’s freshman single-season record with 156 draw controls and is in favor of the new rule, citing that fewer players will create more space and make the game safer.Gait emphasized the need for midfield depth as he expected the new rules to test the endurance of defenders. He stated that scoring across the nation increased last season due to the shot clock, and expects another jump in the total number of goals, though shooting percentage may dip.While Gait didn’t take credit for the new rules, he praised the United Women’s Lacrosse League, UWLX, for enforcing similar rules over the last three years. Gait has been the interim commissioner of the UWLX since 2016.“It’s going to be interesting,” Gait said. “You can try and plan for how the rules have changed but until you get in games, you won’t really know. We will make changes as needed.”Other rule changesThis year, when a team receives its fourth yellow card, the carded player will serve a two-minute non-releasable penalty. Any other yellow card will warrant the same penalty.A new setup for the eight-meter shot will allow the defensive team to place players near the lane of the shooter. Outside the arc, every player except the shooter can now move freely. Gait said he doesn’t know if the rule change benefits the defense or the offense, he said his team will “wait and see.”In the case of a possession switch, the defensive team can commit a maximum of three fouls before the offensive team reaches its attacking end before receiving a one-minute penalty.CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, Gary Gait was misquoted. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Comments Published on January 30, 2018 at 10:48 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nick_a_alvarez Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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