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Safety A Main Focus For 2017 Lacrosse Season
The National Federation of State High School Associations Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee has taken steps to improve player safety for the 2017 season.
One major change will be that no defensive player, other than a goalie wearing all of the proper equipment, can enter his own crease to block a shot. This should help prevent injuries for field players potentially getting hit with high-speed balls.
Goalies are better protected because they must wear a throat and chest protector, in addition to a helmet, mouthpiece, gloves and a protective cup.
If the defensive player enters the crease, then the officials are required to immediately stop play. If the ball is already in flight, play will stop at the conclusion of the shot.
Another change designed to minimize the risk of injury is that all players must wear mouthpieces. Players who fail to wear the required mouthpiece will now be assessed a technical foul -- 30-second penalty or change of possession -- rather than a non-releasable foul.
"The hope with this rule change is better enforcement of proper mouthpiece usage and to reduce the risk of injury," said James Weaver, NFHS director of performing arts and sports and staff liaison for boys' lacrosse.
The rules committee also made a change regarding play during the final two minutes of a game. Stalling rules are now in effect in the last two minutes only if the score differential is four goals or less.
Weaver said the previous "automatic stall warning" in the last two minutes created a dangerous situation, in that a team that was essentially out of the game was given more opportunity to "punish" the team that was ahead, since that team was forced to "keep it in."
All of these rules are geared toward providing more safety for the players without dramatically changing the game.
Lacrosse Spotlight: McDonogh Midfielder Maddie Jenner
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McDonogh junior midfielder Maddie Jenner is perhaps the best high school player in the entire nation when it comes to the draw, winning 182 matchups for the Eagles last season. She also had 23 goals and 14 assists for McDonogh, which is riding a 155-game winning streak. Jenner competed in the Under Armour Underclass Tournament and has committed to Duke.
What did you like best about playing in the Under Armour Underclass Tournament? How was the camaraderie with the players, especially among those who compete against one another in high school?
Maddie Jenner: It was really fun to be teammates with girls I had played against during high school and club lacrosse. There was a great sense of camaraderie as we all came together representing Baltimore. We all shared the same goal of winning the underclass tournament.
Do this year's players at McDonogh feel added pressure to maintain the Eagles' record winning streak?
MJ: Although there is some pressure to maintain the streak, it is not greater than previous years. Our philosophy is to take each game one at a time and to not look past any teams.
What went into your decision to commit early to Duke? What makes the school so appealing to you?
MJ: My decision process was quite drawn out, because I liked so many different schools. I ultimately realized Duke was the right school for me because of its excellent combination of academics and athletics. Each time I visited, I appreciated the school spirit and the excitement around the campus; it reminded me of McDonogh.
For more from Jenner, including her keys to success in winning so many draws last season and more, read the full interview here.
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