Across the country, college lacrosse teams are reuniting for the beginning of fall ball. A big part of their efforts in practice is sure to be adjusting to the new 80-second shot clock. I was lucky enough to catch one of the first glimpses of our new and improved game at Bucknell’s intrasquad scrimmage this weekend and boy, is it something to see.
Bucknell is not a team normally known for pushing transition. They also had shortened benches due to their team being cut in half. Despite all this, the Bison were flying up and down the field, displaying some dazzling tic-tac-toe passing.
The return to a 20-second clear count had a huge impact. The 80-second clock starts as soon as possession changes, but the clearing team must cross midfield in the first 20. This proved challenging for the Herd against their own infamous 10-man ride. The clearing difficulties meant goalies got bolder with their outlet passes, leading to either a fastbreak or a chaotic groundball battle at midfield on every pass ahead. Both were fun.
After the scrimmage, I got to talk with players and a few parents about how they liked it. The attack loved it. The middies and D were gassed but agreed it was good for the game. Parents with and without playing experience said it was the most fun they’d had watching lacrosse. One dad who played big-time college ball went as far as to say the new shot clock “saved the game.”
Best of all, there were only a handful of times when the offense rolled the ball into the corner, conceding a turnover with the clock running out in order to sub and set up the ride. This was a major concern of mine, but I’m happy I was wrong.
All in all, I give the new rules an A+. And we haven’t even seen a crease dive yet…