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Allison Valentino is in her first season as the Bobcats' head coach.
Allison Valentino is in her first season as the Bobcats' head coach.

Dec. 16, 2005

I would like to know how the recent rule changes will affect the game? Do you think the pace of play will be faster this year? Will you be running the same offense and defense that you ran last year at the University of Maryland?

Good luck this year,

Hi Jev,

Thanks for writing. There is a major rule change in our sport to be implemented for the 2006 season. In the past, women's lacrosse has been played with no formal defined boundaries and umpires would blow the whistle for a stoppage of play and possibly call a foul when the action moved too far beyond the field "guidelines." Passes that were thrown out of bounds would be awarded to the team closest to the ball (US Lacrosse).

Starting this year, we are going to have hard defined boundaries on our field and a team will lose posession if they throw the ball out of bounds. We will still have a soft boundary behind the goal, so that if a shot is taken and goes wide and out of bounds behind, the closest player to the ball will be awarded possession.

I envision that this rule change will really affect our game. For example, I think you will see teams utilizing more full-field zone traps, using the sideline as another defender to force turnovers in transition.

Without giving anything away about my team strategies for this year, I learned a lot from Cindy Timchal at the University of Maryland. Cindy is a terrific strategist, and is someone I discuss strategy with often. Needless to say, I have used many of her ideas at practice already and foresee myself doing the same in game situations. Naturally, I also intend to take advantage of lessons I learned at Duke when appropriate.

I think it is important that every coach look at the strengths and weaknesses of their squad and devise what is going to work best for their team. My staff and I have been using this week to plan some of our offenses and defenses for the year and deciding what will be the most effective for our 2006 team.

Thanks for writing and for your support of Bobcat lacrosse!