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AU Lacrosse Approves Scoring System and Rule Changes for 2024 Season

via AU Lacrosse press release/website, by Savanna Collins

The 2024 Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse season will feature updates to the scoring system and on-field rules. Adjustments were made to five statistical category values, three violations and language in the AU Lacrosse Rulebook.

The league began meetings in September following player feedback after the 2023 season with a panel of athletes, including Ally Mastroianni, Kylie Ohlmiller, Charlotte North, Kenzie Kent, Marie McCool, Mira Shane, and Player Executive Committee members Lindsey McKone, Sam Apuzzo, Marge Donovan, and Lauren Gilbert. League leaders and officials were also involved in the discussion process to identify areas of concern and propose a plan to address the issues.

The changes are a result of the experimental exhibition the league hosted in November where they explored how to achieve goals of emphasizing safety, cleaning up the game visually, prioritizing elite skills and quality of play, and improving the flow of the game.

The changes were tested during an experimental exhibition hosted in November where the league explored how to achieve goals of emphasizing safety, prioritizing elite skills and quality of play, and improving the game flow.

“Our intention with the new rule changes is to provide the most exciting display of lacrosse possible,” Mastroianni said. “Through the collaboration of players, staff, and officials, we prioritized safety, creativity, and freedom for athletes to showcase their elite talent. This process is important to myself and my teammates because we want to inspire our fans, the lacrosse community, and the next generation of athletes by playing the highest level of women’s lacrosse in the world.”

From learnings at the exhibition, the following scoring system changes will go into effect for the 2024 season:

Points Awarded and Penalized

  • Assists increased +4 to +6
  • Saves reduced from +5 to +4
  • Turnovers reduced from -10 to -5
  • Caused Turnovers reduced from 14 to 10
  • Draw Controls increased from +2 to +4

Violations and Fouls

  • Shot Violation reduced from -2 to 0
  • Shot Violation Drawn increased from +2 to +4
  • Fouls implemented from 0 to -2

These adjustments are intended to influence the type of play the league aims to encourage and discourage. Abi Jackson, the Director of Sport for AU Pro Lacrosse, shared how these potential changes aim to fit the players’ level of expertise better and challenge the athletes to play the most competitive professional women’s lacrosse possible.

“We wanted to be sure that we are assigning value to different statistical categories that coincide with the actual statistical importance of that stat.”

Jackson explained how increasing the value of an assist and dropping the penalty for a turnover will hopefully encourage more team play.

“If you try to feed the ball and the person you’re feeding doesn’t catch it or it gets intercepted you’re going to be deterred, particularly if the positive potential reward you get is only worth four points. We’re really encouraging the players to take advantage of their creativity and their teamwork.”

Overall, Jackson hopes the scoring system changes will create equal opportunity for any position to rank at the top of the leaderboard.

“The leaderboard is the game within the game, and we want players to be able to showcase their individual efforts regardless of their position. On the other side, the quickest way to earn points on the leaderboard is via team quarter or game wins, so we also want to encourage team play that is exciting and creative,” Jackson said. “Nothing is ever set in stone, and if further adjustments need to be made we will consider those. However, right now we think these changes are going to be positive because they were driven by the two groups that know the game best – players and officials.”

RULES

Changes were also made impacting foul calling and player safety. This includes clarifying what constitutes a foul, cross-check, and dangerous check.

Fouls in the open field will now be acknowledged with an arming advantage and whistle to assist the spotter in recording negative foul points. The rulebook now includes language surrounding intent and control for cross-checks and dangerous cross-checks. New language was also added to define hard fouls to increase player safety and give officials a clear ability to keep the game under control.

Any hold occurring in the eight-meter key deemed dangerous will be granted an eight-meter shot.

“Our game allows for physical contact. It’s the official’s job to determine whether that contact is legal or illegal. So I do expect it to still be physical… but these changes are to ensure that we have a consistent level of safety and application of the rules from game to game,” Jackson said.

The league also made adjustments to walling/shooting space. This includes:

  • Removing the ability to double-team someone who does not have the ball
  • Indicating a restricted area where a defender cannot linger when the ball is up top

The only exception is if the defender is marking a ball carrier who is below the goal line extended.

The restricted area prevents defenders from slowing down or stopping in the main area which would impede most legal shots unless they are clearly marking an attacker player. The goal is to allow shooters to take fewer risks with outside shots and give them more autonomy to attempt to draw a walling call. Jackson hopes it will create a clear visual queue for the players and officials.

LEARN MORE

The full breakdown of the AU Lacrosse scoring system can be found under ‘How We Play’.

Season tickets are on sale now for the 2024 AU Pro Lacrosse Season from July 18 through Aug. 11 at USA Lacrosse Headquarters in Sparks, Maryland.

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