Lacrosse for him, lacrosse for her

Rules, styles of lacrosse differ between genders

Katelyn Cain | Staff Writer

Photo by Katelyn Cain. Photo art by Jami Bechard

Although most sports have the same rules between genders, lacrosse differs in contact rules, field length and style of play, which is crucial, according to freshman Tori Blakeman, a girls’ junior varsity and varsity lacrosse player.

“It is important that there [are differences between the genders] because it makes the sport more unique,” Blakeman said. “Because there are differences between the two [genders], it makes them two very different sports.”

With the first men’s NCAA lax championship held in 1971 and the first women’s in 1982, lacrosse was originally a male-dominated sport, since men were the first to play.

According to Blakeman, the biggest difference is contact.

“[In] boys’ lacrosse, they wear more equipment,” Blakeman said. “They have a lot more padding. There is more contact in boys’ lacrosse. They are allowed to have moderate pushing, and they can tackle, depending on the severity of it. [Boys] can do body checks and stick checks, and girls can only do stick checks.”

Blakeman said that besides uniform and contact rules, the length of the field and equipment is different as well.

“Girls have a longer field; we run more, and the girls’ game is much more about finesse and possession than boys,” Blakeman said. “Also, girls’ sticks are shallower than boys’ sticks, so it makes it harder to pass and catch, and also to control the ball when [the stick] is checked.”

According to sophomore Luke Biggers, a boys’ junior varsity lacrosse player, despite the fact that boys can legally have more physical contact than girls, the differences even out in the end.

“We both have things that the other doesn’t have,” Biggers said. “[The differences]…even out, because [girls] can’t check as much, but their pockets, [which hold the ball,] are different than ours because theirs are smaller and the ball can come out easier, so that’s harder for them.”

Sophomore Kylie Yancey, a girls’ varsity lacrosse player, said that girls should not be able to have as much physical contact as boys because they would get hurt and change their style of play.

“I think everyone wants the girls to be able to hit, but, realistically, that’s not good,” Yancey said. “We would get hurt, and our game would slow down if we wore pads and helmets. Plus, even if we were allowed to hit, the game would probably still have a lot more restrictions on it than boys’ [lacrosse].”

Although the two genders both have elements of the game that the other doesn’t have, Yancey said, lacrosse spectators prefer to watch a more violent style of play.

“People think that girls’ lacrosse is boring,” Yancey said. “[Spectators] think that [boys’] lacrosse is more exciting because they’re allowed to hit, and people go to see the violence and the intensity.”

Junior Ben Nolan, a boys’ junior varsity lacrosse player, said the reason there are such major differences between boys’ and girls’ lacrosse is because of physical contact.

“In lacrosse, there’s more free range of physical contact than [in] a sport like soccer,” Nolan said. “There [are fewer] rules pertaining to where you can hit in boys’ lacrosse than in many other sports.”