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Women's lacrosse


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The rules of women's lacrosse differ significantly from men's lacrosse, most notably by equipment and the degree of allowable physical contact. Women's lacrosse rules also differ significantly between the US and all other countries, who play by the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) rules. Women's lacrosse does not allow physical contact, the only protective equipment worn is a mouth guard and eye-guard. In the early part of the 21st century, there have been discussions of requiring headgear to prevent concussions. In 2008, Florida was the first state to mandate headgear in women's lacrosse. Stick checking is permitted in the women's game, but only in certain levels of play and within strict rules. Women's lacrosse also does not allow players to have a pocket, or loose net, on the lacrosse stick. Women start the game with a "draw" instead of a face-off. The two players stand up and the ball is placed between their stick heads while their sticks are horizontal at waist-height. At the whistle, the players lift their sticks into the air, trying to control where the ball goes.

The first modern women's lacrosse game was held at St Leonards School in Scotland in 1890. It was introduced by the school's headmistress Louisa Lumsden after a visit to Quebec, where she saw it played. The first women's lacrosse team in the United States was established at Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Maryland in 1926.

Both the number of players and the lines on the field differ from men's lacrosse. There are 12 players in women's lacrosse and players must abide by certain boundaries that do not exist in men's play. The three specific boundaries are the 8-meter (26 ft 3 in) "fan" in front of the goal (11 m [36 ft 1 in] internationally), the 12-meter (39 ft 4 in) (8 m [26 ft 3 in] internationally) half circle that surrounds the 8-meter fan, and the draw circle in the center of the field, which is used for draws to start quarters and after goals. The goal circle is also positioned slightly closer to the end line in women's lacrosse compared to men's. In women's lacrosse on either the offensive or defensive end, the players besides the goaltender are not able to step inside the goal circle; this becomes a "goal-circle violation". However, at the women's collegiate level, a new rule has been established that allows defenders to pass through the goal circle.

The 8-meter fan that is in front of the goal circle has a few restrictions in it. Defenders cannot stand inside the 8-meter fan longer than 3 seconds without being a stick-length away from the offensive player they are guarding. This is very similar to the three-second rule in basketball. A three seconds violation results in a player from the other team taking a free shot against the goalie. If you are an attacker trying to shoot the ball into the goal, you are not supposed to take a shot while a defender is in "shooting space." To make sure that you, the defender, are being safe, you want to lead with your lacrosse stick and once you are a sticks-length away, you can be in front of her.

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