Stacie Fanelli | Staff PhotographerMen's Lacrosse
Syracuse works to adjust to 30-second shot clock, other rule changes aimed at speeding pace of play
Syracuse’s opponents can no longer slow the Orange down. They now have no choice but to keep up with the team’s fast-paced style.
The NCAA approved several new rules aimed at speeding up the game. Perhaps the most anticipated change was the institution of a 30-second shot clock after a stall is called. Other changes included the expansion of the substitution box to 20 yards, the end of horns signaling substitutions and a set number of balls along the end line and sideline to quicken the restart time after a ball goes out of bounds.
Syracuse head coach John Desko said a shot clock was almost added when he was on the rules committee in the early 2000s, but it received too much push back from lacrosse officials. Nearly 10 years later, a shot clock is finally part of college lacrosse.
“I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” Desko said. “It leaves a lot on the officials still, because they’re the ones who are going to have to interpret stalling and making the call.”
As soon as the official makes a stall call, teams will have 30 seconds to take a shot.
Teams like Providence and Maryland made habits out of winning faceoffs, then holding onto the ball for long periods of time to limit the Orange’s possessions. Aside from frustrating Syracuse’s shooters, the stalling also ground the game’s pace to a halt.
Syracuse scrimmaged Friday in the Carrier Dome with officials so the team and referees could learn the new rules. JoJo Marasco said the 30 seconds flew by, leaving time for maybe one or two passes and a dodge before the shot has to go off.
Teams are also going to try and press out on the offense to force shots from about 15 yards out. Defenses are going to do anything possible to keep shooters from getting good, close looks at the goal.
“You’ve got to be smart,” Marasco said. “You don’t want to take a stupid shot and they can get a good break out. It was definitely different, I think it’s going to be a pretty cool thing.”
“You’ve got to be smart. You don’t want to take a stupid shot and they can get a good break out. It was definitely different, I think it’s going to be a pretty cool thing.”
JoJo Marasco, Syracuse midfielder
The NCAA did not institute a visible shot clock. The official closest to the ball will keep track of the time and then begin a hand count with 10 seconds remaining. The players have to watch the official and then listen for when he calls out the 10-second mark, which Marasco said will be difficult considering how loud games can get.
Another rule also calls for officials to whistle for a restart as soon as an opposing player is within five yards of the player who was awarded the ball. The defender then has to give the player with the ball a distance of five yards to find an open teammate or go to the cage. Previously, the defender could step right in front of the opposing player and create a one-on-one on the sideline that lengthened the time of restart.
“I don’t think there’s going to be too many stalls with the no horns and the fast whistles, I think that’s going to help a lot,” Marasco said. “I think the stall’s going to kind of get taken out.”
Teams have to keep a minimum of six and a maximum of 10 balls at each end line and sideline so players don’t have to locate new ones.
Former Syracuse goaltender John Galloway, who is now an assistant coach at Providence, said the rules concerning substitutions and restarts will quicken the game’s pace even more than the shot clock.
The substitution box was expanded from 10 to 20 yards, which could give players an advantage if they can get a 20-yard jump on an opposing player going up the field. And because horns will no longer signal a substitution, all substitutions will be done on the fly.
“I think a lot of teams are going to do it differently and there’s going to be a lot of different gimmicks, ideas to come up with,” Galloway said. “If you have guys that can play up and down, offense and defense, you don’t really have to mess around too much with the team.”
Desko said the team’s scrimmage with the new rules on Friday went well, but there’s still a lot for everyone to learn. With the quicker pace, decisions will have to be made faster.
Said Desko: “It’s definitely a faster pace, but there’s more confusion, too.”
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