In 2019 high school and youth girls’ lacrosse will implement several significant rule changes. One change focused directly on increasing player safety is the creation of a penalty zone.  

The penalty zone is intended to simplify penalty administration and address safety concerns around 8-meter free positions. This area will be cleared for all 8m free positions awarded above the goal line extended. 

The penalty zone is the area from inside the 8-meter arc and extending back to the dots from the 8-meter arc. 


If a major foul by a defensive player occurs within 8-meters of the goal circle above the goal line extended, the entire penalty zone must be cleared. All players in the penalty zone must take the shortest route out. 

If a major foul by a defensive player occurs below the goal line extended, the player with the ball will go to the nearest dot. The penalty zone is not cleared when a foul is administered at a dot. 

The procedures for clearing the penalty zone will remain the same as was previously used to clear the 8m arc with the following exception: if a pair of opposing players is to be moved to a hash adjacent to the ball carrier, the defensive player will be entitled to the inside position closest to the ball carrier. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: When clearing the penalty zone, are defensive players always entitled to the hash adjacent to the ball carrier?  

No, not always; only the defensive player who has been cleared to the hash adjacent to the ball carrier is entitled to the adjacent hash. If no defensive player would be moved to the adjacent hash, the adjacent hash will remain empty. If an attack player would be moved to the hash adjacent to the ball carrier and there is no defensive player that would be moved with her, the attack player is entitled to the adjacent hash. 

Q2: Are there any situations where a lane is cleared instead of the penalty zone?

Yes. For any major foul that occurs between the 8m arc and the 12m fan you will still clear a lane which is as wide as the goal circle and all players are well outside of the lane. 

Q3: If the goalkeeper is outside of her goal circle when a foul is committed can she clear back into her goal circle?

Yes. As long as she did not commit the foul and was within the penalty zone, she can clear back into her goal circle when the penalty zone is cleared.

Q4: If a free position is being set on an outside hash mark (the hanging hash), does the pie area on the opposite side of the 8m arc need to be cleared?

Yes. Any time a free position is taken on a hash mark, the entire penalty zone must be cleared.
 

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