Boys’ and Girls’ Lacrosse: Same Name, Different Rules

Boys’ and girls’ lacrosse are the same sport but the rules make them look very different. The differences make it harder for girls to play as their rules are tighter


Same sport. Different game.
Though boys’ and girls’ lacrosse can be defined similarly, they are very different in execution and play. Pounds of padding accompany boys’ uniforms and the physicality defines the boys’ game, while girls only get an eye mask, mouth guard, and the whistle blows if girls come close to contact.
Two of the three captains of the girls’ lacrosse team at ELHS, Meghan Nagle and Kaitlyn DiLoreto, explained the lack of padding results in more rules. “Girls lacrosse is slowed down a little because there’s so many minor fouls,” Nagle said. Minor fouls are small incidents on the field that affect another player.
Rules are more strict for girls. There is an
eight meter shot that boys don’t have. When
a foul happens within eight meters around the
cage, also known as the goal, then there is a
free shot.
“It’s kind of like a penalty kick in soccer except [eight meters] happen way more often,” DiLoreto said.
For more severe fouls, such as a girl body checking or slamming into another player, girls can get a yellow card and be sent out for two minutes; two yellow cards and the player is out for the rest of the game. Boys don’t get as many fouls as more is allowed.
The way that girls score is also different from boys because of the regulations on their sticks. While girls have stick checks and their stick pockets can only be so deep, boys have no regulations on their sticks. Nagle explained
That this rule can make it harder for girls to shoot. Most girls have to be really close to the cage or dart between other players to get there.
“You have to have more technique when you catch and throw with a girls’ lacrosse stick,” DiLoreto said.
The captain of the boys’ lacrosse team at ELHS, Jack Keating, agrees that because of the pocket depth it can be difficult to use a girls’ stick. Boys also have an advantage with the length of their sticks. For different positions in men’s lacrosse there can be different stick lengths, for girls it is all the same.
“It’s definitely better to have a long stick when you’re playing defense,” Keating said. Though there are only four players allowed to have a longer stick on the field at a time, it does provide an advantage. Most agree the biggest difference is the physical aspect. Boys body check other players while girls aren’t allowed to touch anyone due to lack of protection while playing.
“Personally, I wished we played more like guys with the physical aspect of it,” DiLoreto said. Nagle explained that over the last few years the sport has been adjusting, though there is still a long way to go for equality.