By Cassie Speno, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - Beginning with the 2012 women's lacrosse season, the NCAA Rules Committee announced several rule changes, which would take effect this season.
Little did the lacrosse community know what an impact these changes would truly have on the sport of women's lacrosse. Head coach Missy Doherty who is a member of the NCAA Rules Committee supports the changes and believes it will make the game much cleaner.
The rule changes have taken place on two crucial aspects of the game, the
issuing of yellow cards for dangerous fouls and the number of players allowed
on the circle during the draw.
"I do agree with the new rule changes that have been put in place," said Doherty. "It is an off sides call that has been changed for the most part. With the new rule, you have to have four people behind the restraining line, whether it is on the attacking end or on the defensive end. The rule is an important change in the game because before when you got a yellow card there was no consequence as you were still playing even at both ends. Now you have to care a little bit more because you are going to be down a player on both ends of the field."
The player that has been issued a yellow card is now required to sit or stand in front of the scoring table. Prior to the change the player who committed the foul was able to resume standing on the sideline next to her coaches and the rest of the team.
"Having the player sit near the scoring table is really for the referees," said Doherty. "This way they know there is a penalty and one team should be playing man down."
Once issued a yellow card the player is required to sit out of the contest for two minutes. However if during that two minutes the opposing team scores, the penalty is then released.
In the Nittany Lions match up against the Florida Gators, yellow cards proved to be an issue during the contest. Penn State was issued six yellow cards, which relegated two key players to the sideline for the remainder of the game.
"Florida was a physical game it was unfortunate that we were the recipients of all the cards," said Doherty. "I thought both teams were equally physical, but unfortunately sometimes that how it goes."
Even though the new rule has shown some disadvantages for the squad this season, it has also shown its perks. The Penn State women's lacrosse team prides itself on its man up offense. One of the squad's best assets is their man up offense.
"Our man up offense is one of our best assets as a team," said Doherty. "We have some smart attackers that see the field really well. Our game-winning overtime goal against Vanderbilt was a man up goal. Maggie sat behind the cage and had a couple cutters early, but waited for Tatum who was wide open."
The other rule change that took effect this season is centered on the draw circle. Now, only two players from each team are allowed to stand on the outside of the draw circle along with the person in the middle.
"It allows for a much cleaner draw, however that is good and bad," said Doherty. "It is going to be hard to have an even slate with teams that really dominate the draw because you can no longer just crowd people in there. We really want to be a team that recognizes that and hopefully uses that to our advantage."
Against a team who historically dominates the draw controls, Penn State hang tough with Northwestern capturing 11 to Northwestern's 12.
Committee members in an effort to keep the fastest growing sport in the country and what some call "the fastest game on two feet" safe consistently revisit the rules each year. This year, introducing some of the biggest changes yet.