What You Need to Know About Lacrosse

What You Need to Know About Lacrosse

Coker College is gearing up for its first season of lacrosse in school history. The Cobras, as a member of Conference Carolinas, begin their season on Feb. 10 with a home match against Shorter University. The sport of lacrosse has continued to grow throughout the country, and has now hit the area. As lacrosse begins to make its way into the Pee Dee Region, we thought we'd offer a quick tutorial on the game itself.

What is Lacrosse?

Lacrosse is a fast-growing, physical sport that is rising in popularity. It has been primarily established in the Northeast, but it is rapidly spreading throughout the country.

The Basics

The winner is the team that scores the most goals. The game involves 10 players on the field at one time, including the goalie. The nine other players are broken up into three categories – defenders, midfielders and attackers. Typically, there are three of each position on the field at one time.

Areas marked off on the 110-yard field are the attack and defensive areas. Six players play on offense and six on defense at one time. Any position player, with the exception of the goalie, can cross the midfield line when attacking. However, at least three players must remain on the defensive half of the field at all times.

Each game begins with a face-off between two players fighting for possession. Face-offs also occur after each score throughout the game.

There are four 15-minute quarters played with a 10-minute halftime intermission between. Each team has two timeouts per half. If a game requires overtime, sudden-death rules apply.


Lacrosse requires little in the way of pads. Players wear helmets, arm pads, gloves, cleats and gym shorts. Most players wear a form of shoulder pads, lighter than football ones, but not all do. Goalies wear the usual equipment but also wear chest protectors. 

Each player uses a stick with a head on it that must be 6.5 inches or more at its widest point. Offensive players tend to use short sticks (between 40-42 inches), while defenders use long sticks (52-72 inches). The goalie is permitted to use a stick that is between 40 and 72 inches long and the head can measure up to 12 inches wide to support for better shot-blocking. The ball used in lacrosse is made of rubber and is about the size of a baseball.

What to expect at a game

Lacrosse has a bit of several sports sprinkled in. There's hitting and physical contact throughout, like football. Substitutions take place like a hockey game – on the fly – one player on, the other off in a fast-paced manner. When players are on offense, it becomes like basketball, except with six players instead of five. Teams on offense run set plays, using picks, screens and other various maneuvers trying to score. On offense, you'll often find teams slowing the pace by passing the ball around and creating something of a chess match before putting on a full-fledged attack.

There's man-to-man defense, zone defense, pick plays, shooting, shooting in the paint (which is called the crease area), screens, pick and rolls, and traps.

Penalties occur and are distributed just like hockey. Players given a penalty will be sent into the penalty box for the determined time, which is no longer than two minutes. When a player is out due to a penalty, it is considered a power-play, or, in lacrosse terms, "man-down." Penalties include but are not limited to: slashing, unnecessary roughness, tripping or illegal equipment.

Games are fast-paced and usually high-scoring. It is very common to see double-digit scoring from either team playing.

Why should you attend a game?

If you like contact sports that offer lots of scoring, hitting and fast-paced action, then lacrosse is something you need to check out.

If you like fast-paced, big-hitting sports, then lacrosse is something you need to check out.

Watching a combination of sports rolled into one is very entertaining. With football season in the rearview mirror, lacrosse provides a spark during the spring season that gives people their fix for physical sports year-round.

When does the season begin?

The inaugural season for the Coker College Cobras begins Friday, Feb. 10 with a home matchup against Shorter University.

If you are interested in playing lacrosse for Coker College, click here to visit our athletics website.

Lacrosse Quick Facts, by Chris Dougherty Manager of Athletics Media Relations at Coker College