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The NFHS Boy's Game

Field lacrosse is played outdoors on a surface which is generally 110 yards long and 60 yards wide.  High school lacrosse can be played on a football field, keeping the same length but modifying the width to 53 1/3 yards.



Each team starts with 10 players on the field, divided into four positions: goalie (1), defense (3), midfield (3), and attack (3).  The object of the game is to propel the ball (either by shooting or kicking it) into the goal.  Each goal counts as one point.  There are four quarters of play, with a 10 minute break for halftime.  In the event of a tie game, overtime is played “sudden death” (i.e. first goal wins).

The game begins with a faceoff, conducted at the center of the field.  During a faceoff, goalies, defensemen, and attackmen must remain in their respective areas until possession is gained (a player has control of the ball in their stick).  Once a team has possession, they will move the ball up the field by usually throwing and catching the ball in their stick (crosse).  The act of “flicking” the stick back-and-forth quickly is called “cradling” and its purpose is to keep the ball in the desired spot for control when passing, shooting, or attempting to maintain possession.



Goalie: The last line of defense.  They have one big job…stop the ball from entering the net (for a goal to count, the ball has to completely pass through the opening of the goal).  They try to stop the ball with the stick, but any part of the body including their hands, may be used.  Goalies will shout commands to their team when playing defense.  Goalies are protected in their crease (the circle around the goal) from other players, but only for about 4 seconds when they have the ball.  They may choose to pass the ball to their teammates or can run with it up the field.




Defense: The punishers.  Players in this position are easily identified by the length of their lacrosse stick.  The “long poles” (52”-72” in length) are used to keep a greater distance between them and their opponent while still being able to attempt to dislodge the ball.  Normally, Defensemen do not cross the midfield line and will “match up” with their opponent’s Attackmen.






Midfield: The runners.  Midfielders are responsible for playing both defense and offense.  They will generally be the ones running up and down the entire length of the field.  Like Attackmen, they carry a “short stick” (40”-42” in length).  The shorter stick is better for creating high velocity shots and for more accurate passing/shooting.  Normally, a Midfielder takes the faceoff and may be a specialist in that task: F.O.G.O. – Face Off, Get Off (the field).






Attack: The quick sticks.  Attackmen have one main purpose…score goals.  They are highly skilled with their stickwork and footwork.  Attackmen are usually hovering near or slightly behind the goal and are marked by the opponent’s Defensemen.  Like Defensemen, they normally do not leave their half of the field.







Specialized Positions

Long Stick Midfield (LSM): A team is allowed to have a maximum of four “long poles” on the field.  During a faceoff, many teams will use a LSM to gain a defensive advantage (having an extra “long pole”) if they lose the faceoff battle.  Conversely, if they win the faceoff, the LSM will usually leave the field right away where a regular Midfielder will substitute in. 

F.O.G.O.: Faceoffs are crucial in lacrosse.  They can easily be the determining factor in a win or a loss.  Because of this, teams will employ a faceoff specialist who will be on the field to win the faceoff, pass the ball to a teammate and exit the field for a substitution (Face Off, Get Off).  Being skilled at the faceoff is a highly sought after talent by all teams.