Men's Lacrosse

Marquette Men's Lacrosse 101

Dec. 16, 2010

Men's lacrosse will become Marquette's eighth men's varsity sport when it begins competition in 2013 as an independent before becoming a full member of the BIG EAST in 2014. Over the last decade the sport of lacrosse has seen exponential growth among all age groups, especially at the collegiate level, where the sport experienced the largest rate of growth among all NCAA sports. Membership in the Wisconsin chapter of US Lacrosse has grown by over 300 percent in the last five years, with 2,679 current members of the local chapter. In 2005 there were 836 members in the state of Wisconsin.

The sport itself is the oldest in North America and was played by Native Americans prior to the arrival of European settlers. It was first documented in what is now southeast Ontario, Canada by Jesuit missionary Jean de Brebeuf in 1636 and the first set of playing rules was finalized by Canadian dentist Dr. W. George Beers in 1867.
(More on the History of Lacrosse)

Competitive Information
NCAA Homepage | NCAA Men's Rules of the Game | US Lacrosse Homepage
Season Length: February-May (17 dates of competition)
Game length: 60 minutes (15-minute quarters)
Average Roster Size: 44.8 players
Full Scholarship Allotment: 12.6 scholarships
Starters (10): 3 Attackmen, 3 Midfielders, 3 Defenders, 1 Goalie
Teams use netted sticks to carry, throw and shoot a ball along a field in an effort to score goals. A goal counts as one point and is scored when the ball completely crosses the opposing goal line between the posts and under the crossbar. The team scoring the greater number of goals in the allotted time wins the game.

Equipment Required: Crosse (stick), solid rubber ball, helmet, mouthpiece, gloves, shoulder pads, arm pads

BIG EAST Conference Quick Facts
BIG EAST Homepage | Men's Media Guide | Final 2010 Notes (PDF)
First year sponsored by BIG EAST: 2010
NCAA Championships: 10*
NCAA Runners-up: 6*
NCAA Final Four: 28*
NCAA Championship Appearances: 68*
Participating Institutions (7): Georgetown, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, St. John's, Syracuse, Villanova
* Numbers listed are totals for all member programs

The BIG EAST began sponsoring men's lacrosse in the spring of 2010 with seven members. Two teams earned a berth into the 2010 NCAA Championship, Syracuse and Notre Dame. Syracuse won the league's regular season championship with a perfect 6-0 record in conference play. Notre Dame earned an at-large berth and advanced to the title game of the NCAA Championship, before losing to Duke 6-5 in overtime.

The BIG EAST will begin its men's lacrosse tournament in May of 2012. The top four teams in the regular season standing will qualify for the championship.

NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Quick Facts
Participating Institutions: 61
Tournament Format: 16-team, single-elimination

Teams located in Wis., Ill., Ind., Mich., and Minn.:
2 (Notre Dame and Detroit Mercy)

Men's Lacrosse Among All NCAA Sports
Growth Rates among NCAA Sports (10 yrs.): No. 1, 28.5 percent
Graduation Success Rate (2009): No. 1, 88 percent
Academic Progress Rate (2009): No. 4, 972

Men's Lacrosse Rules (Courtesy of US Lacrosse):

Men's lacrosse is a contact game played by ten players: a goalie, three defensemen, three midfielders and three attackmen. The object of the game is to shoot the ball into the opponent's goal and to keep the other team from scoring. The team scoring the most goals wins.

Each team must keep at least four players, including the goalie, in its defensive half of the field and three in its offensive half. Three players (midfielders) may roam the entire field.

Collegiate games are 60 minutes long, with 15-minute quarters. Each team is given a two-minute break between the first and second quarters, and the third and fourth quarters. Halftime is 10 minutes long.

Teams change sides between periods. Each team is permitted two timeouts each half. The team winning the coin toss chooses the end of the field it wants to defend first. The players take their positions on the field: four in the defensive clearing area, one at the center, two in the wing areas and three in their attack goal area.

Men's/boys' lacrosse begins with a face-off. The ball is placed between the sticks of two squatting players at the center of the field. The official blows the whistle to begin play. Each face-off player tries to control the ball. The players in the wing areas can run after the ball when the whistle sounds. The other players must wait until one player has gained possession of the ball, or the ball has crossed a goal area line, before they can release.

Center face-offs are also used at the start of each quarter and after a goal is scored. Field players must use their crosses to pass, catch and run with the ball. Only the goalkeeper may touch the ball with his hands. A player may gain possession of the ball by dislodging it from an opponent's crosse with a stick check. A stick check is the controlled poking and slapping of the stick and gloved hands of the player in possession of the ball.

Body checking is permitted if the opponent has the ball or is within five yards of a loose ball. All body contact must occur from the front or side, above the waist and below the shoulders, and with both hands on the stick. An opponent's crosse may also be stick checked if it is within five yards of a loose ball or ball in the air. Aggressive body checking is discouraged.

If the ball or a player in possession of the ball goes out of bounds, the other team is awarded possession. If the ball goes out of bounds after an unsuccessful shot, the player nearest to the ball when and where it goes out of bounds is awarded possession.

An attacking player cannot enter the crease around the goal, but may reach in with his stick to scoop a loose ball.

A referee, umpire and field judge supervise field play. A chief bench official, timekeepers and scorers assist. There are personal fouls and technical fouls in boys' lacrosse. The penalty for a personal foul results in a one-to-three minute suspension from play and possession to the team that was fouled. Players with five personal fouls are ejected from the game. The penalty for a technical foul is a 30-second suspension if a team is in possession of the ball when the foul is committed, or possession of the ball to the team that was fouled if there was no possession when the foul was committed.


The attackman's responsibility is to score goals and help his teammates score goals by passing the ball. The attackman generally restricts his play to the offensive end of the field. A good attackman demonstrates excellent stick work with both hands and has quick feet to maneuver around the goal. Each team has three attackmen on the field during play.

The midfielder's responsibility is to cover the entire field, playing both offense and defense. The midfielder is a key to the transition game, and is often called upon to clear the ball from defense to offense. A good midfielder demonstrates good stick work including throwing, catching and scooping. Speed and stamina are essential. Each team has three midfielders on the field.

The defenseman's responsibility is to defend the goal. The defenseman generally restricts his play to the defensive end of the field. A good defenseman should be able to react quickly in game situations. Agility and aggressiveness are necessary, but great stick work is more essential to attack. Each team has three defensemen on the field.

The goalie's responsibility is to protect the goal and stop the opposing team from scoring. A good goalie also leads the defense by reading the situation and directing the defensemen to react. A good goalie should have excellent hand/eye coordination and a strong voice. Quickness, agility, confidence and the ability to concentrate are also essential. Each team has one goalie in the goal during play.

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