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Lacrosse has long tradition, not yet big in Yuma

Northwestern attacker Shannon Smith, right, shoots low and scores past Maryland goalkeeper Brittany Dipper and defender Katie Gallagher during the NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse final at LaValle Stadium at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York, Sunday, May 29, 2011. Northwestern defeated Maryland, 8-7. (Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke/Newsday/MCT)

Gloria Cortez, Staff Writer

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At Kofa High School there are around 15 different sports.  From basketball to football, golf, etc.,  there are plenty of sports to participate in. However, a sport not so common around the Yuma area is lacrosse.  It’s mainly played in the central United States high schools, and played throughout colleges.

Ianna Verdugo says that lacrosse seems like a very interesting sport.  “To me lacrosse is a very fun and physical sport, the first time I played lacrosse I felt a thrill of enjoyment throughout the game I played.”

So what exactly is lacrosse?  The sport consists of the combination of speed in basketball and the contact of football.  Originally the sport was called baggataway and was first played by Native Americans for many purposes such as religious reasons, to settle disputes and for the training of warriors.  Many times, the game resulted in death or in a serious injury which is why in the modern day game much protection is needed.

Today lacrosse is played on a field with the approximate length of a football field,  which is 110 yards long and 60 feet wide.  The sticks used are made of molded plastic with a nylon mesh or a leather and nylon woven pocket.  Handles can consist of aluminum, titanium or alloy . The sticks vary in length from 40 to 72 inches, depending upon the position played.  The goals are about 6 feet squared and are placed in a crease, which is a circle with a 9 foot radius.

At the same time on the field there are 10 team players. One goalie, three defensemen, three midfielders, and three attackmen.  The goalies job is to protect his team’s goal  from the other team scoring.  Defensemen generally use a longer stick and stay on the defensive half of the field.  Playing the defensemen position requires the player to guard the opponent and try to steal the ball away so that their own team may score.   A midfielder or middie plays both offense and defense and has to run the field from one end to the other.  An attack men uses the shortest stick and plays mainly on the offensive half of the field.  They tend to be the best stick handlers in the game and must be quick and agile.
To stay protected in the game all players must wear a helmet, gloves, mouth guard, shoulder pads and arm pads.  The arm pads are mainly worn by middies and attackmen, but all players may use them if they would like.  The goalie wears all that is listed plus a chest protector and throat protector.  Some lacrosse terminology is the face-off which is  the beginning of the game when the ball is in the center and two players wait for the official whistle to be blown so that one may clamp the ball under their stick.  Face-offs happen every time after a goal has been made.  Clearing is when the ball is moving from the defensive side of the field to the offensive side.  Riding occurs when the player tries to stop the opponent’s effort to clear.  When a defender moves from his offensive man to another to help his teammate double-team is a slide.  Checking happens when you use your stick to hit your opponent’s stick who has possession of the ball.  Body checking is almost the same thing as regular checking though the difference is that instead of using your stick to check you may use your body.  Playing the game offensively is almost like playing the offensive part of basketball. On defense the players usually play man-to-man with a team concept to backups and plays to help out.

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The news site of Kofa High School
Lacrosse has long tradition, not yet big in Yuma