Club Sport of the Week: Women’s Lacrosse

Lacrosse is known as the first true sport in North American history, as it was played by the Native Americans (dating back to 1636) as part of cultural ceremonies. The game often had over a thousand people playing and goals spread miles apart. The French colonists initially called the stick used to play the game “crosse” which means “bishop’s staff” in French, essentially naming the sport. The first rules were established in 1867 by Canadian dentist W. George Beers, with the most important rule that the ball cannot touch one’s hands continuing from the Native American version of the game. Nine years later, Queen Victoria watched and “endorsed” the game of lacrosse, allowing the game to spread even more rapidly.

The first intercollegiate tournament was held in New York in 1881, with the first official women’s lacrosse game occurring in Scotland in 1890. 1904 saw the game played in the Olympics, with Canada winning the gold medal. Canada would also go on to win the gold in the 1908 Olympics in London. Today, lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports with more than 500,000 players worldwide.

A lacrosse game is 60 minutes long, with two 25 minute halves and a 10 minute halftime. Women’s lacrosse games differ from the men’s game in the start of the game (or after a score), as the women complete a “draw”, while the men complete a “face off”. A draw is comprised of the referee placing the ball between two opponent’s sticks while they are facing each other. When the referee blows their whistle, the two players try to win possession of the ball by forcing the ball up into the air. If a player moves before the referee blows the whistle, the other team is automatically awarded possession. Throughout the game, the players will try to catch the ball and run with it in their stick (called cradling) to score in the opponent’s goal. Women’s lacrosse is also unique from men’s lacrosse in the fact that women do not wear any protective pads, only eye goggles and a mouth guard. This leads to a difference in the rules regarding hitting the opponents (called checking). Each player has an imaginary sphere around their head (approximately 7 inches away from the head at all times) in which the opponent’s stick may not enter.

The CSM Women’s Lacrosse team is a relatively new club sport, as they attained the status of a club sport three years ago. The team is comprised of approximately 15 members, although they are always looking for new players with any skill level. The team plays local Colorado teams (along with the University of Wyoming) mostly in the spring, with an annual tournament in Salt Lake City, UT every year. The team will be playing at Mines on Saturday March 2 at 12:00 PM against Air Force Academy and again on April 12 at 5:00 PM versus University of Northern Colorado. The team will be traveling to play Utah State, Utah Valley, University of Utah, and Boise State University from March 22-24. For a more detailed schedule, please visit http://recsports.mines.edu/REC-Club-Lacrosse-Women or email the team’s president, Kaycie Lane, at kalane@mines.edu.

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