High School

Ask A Ref: Goal Or No Goal?

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Editors’ Note: Welcome Gordon Corsetti back to LAS! In our last edition of Ask A Ref, Gordon Corsetti filled us in on how players can, and can not, exchange sticks on the field of play. This week, he’s covering weird goal scoring situations, and when a goal can be waived off. If you’re interested in reffing, check out Gordon’s book, ”Advancement Rules: Improving Your Lacrosse Officiating“, on Amazon!

John Madden is credited for saying, “usually the team that scores the most points wins the game.” So since goals are so important, nothing will infuriate a team faster than a legal goal waived off mistakenly, or an illegal goal counted. Here I cover a few weird situations that Connor sent me as well as a few I’ve run into.

Weird Situation #1A goalie draws his stick back to throw the ball after making a save. The goalie’s stick crosses the goal plane with the ball in it, and touches the net in his throwing motion. Then throws the ball to a teammate.

This is not a goal. According to NFHS Rule 4.8.1 Situation D – “Goalkeeper, in possession of the ball, brings his crosse through the plane of his goal. RULING – Legal play, no goal scored (Only a loose ball that is beyond the plane of the goal counts.)”. For an excellent example of a similar situation check out Syracuse vs. Denver 2013 Final Four on replay at ESPNU and ESPN3. At 7:21 in the third quarter (1 hour and 23 minutes into the broadcast). It takes three different replays to prove the official correct.

Weird Situation #2Ball hits off goalkeeper’s shoulder, hits the ground and rolls towards the goal line. Ball rests on top of goal line but does not fully cross the back of the line.

This is not a goal. Unlike football, which only requires that the plane of the goal line be broken, lacrosse requires that the entire ball must cross the entire line. NFHS rule 4.8.1 states that, “a goal is scored when a loose ball passes from the front, completely through the imaginary plane formed by the rear edges of the goal line, the goal posts and the crossbar of the goal.” Merely touching the line is not enough.

Weird Situation #3A player is on the crease and his teammate feeds him the ball. He can not get his stick to it in time, so instead he purposefully hits the ball with his helmet so it goes into the cage.

This is a legal goal. NFHS rule 4.8.1 states that the ball can go, “off the foot or any other part of the body of a player and into the goal.” Fun fact: if a player scores in a manner other than using his stick the goal can be disallowed if his stick is found illegal. Even if the stick had nothing to do with the goal being scored.

Weird Situation #4What if the shooter’s stick is legal, but their equipment is not? What if the assister’s stick is found to be illegal?

If a goal is scored and the official discovers that the shooter has the palms cut out on his gloves, is wearing a hockey helmet, is not wearing shoulder pads, and has a clear mouthguard the goal still stands. Only an illegal stick used by the shooter can waive off a goal. If a teammate, not the shooter, uses an illegal stick and it is checked after a goal, the goal stands. The shooter is the only one who can get the goal waived off if he is using an illegal stick. Anyone else and the goal stands.

Weird Situation #5The ball hits multiple pipes and returns to the field of play.

The ball has to completely cross the back edge of the goal line. Hitting two or three pipes, however cool as that may be, can not result in a goal. The only pipe shot that can result in a goal is if the ball hits piping behind the goal line and ricochets back onto the field of play. Typically the ball hits the pipe laying on the ground at such an angle that it rebounds back out.

Weird Situation #6The head comes off the stick on a successful shot.

Goal is immediately waived off and the ball is awarded to the defense in the alley. In this situation the goalie has two projectiles flying towards him. To all the shooters out there make sure the screw is solidly in place before your games.

There are fourteen specific instances in the NFHS rulebook that state when a goal must be waived off. I’ve listed them below:

NFHS 4.9.2 Article 2: A goal shall be disallowed:

– After the game horn sounds to indicate the end of the period
– After the period has ended regardless of whether the official’s whistle may have sounded
– When any part of the body of a player of the attacking team is in the goal-crease area at the time
– When the attacking team has more than 10 players (including in the penalty area) on the field of play at the time
– When the attacking team or both teams are offside at the time
– After one of the officials has sounded the whistle for any reason, even if the sounding of the whistle was inadvertent
– If the head comes off the stick on a successful shot, the goal shall be disallowed and the ball awarded to the defensive team
– When there is a flag down for a foul by the scoring team
– When there is a play on for a foul by the scoring team
– After a player from the attacking team has released early from the penalty area
– When the scoring player’s crosse is found to be illegal, or if the scoring player adjusts the strings before the official requests it, or adjust the crosse in any way after the official asks for it.
– After a player in the act of shooting or his teammate touches the goalkeeper in the crease or touches any part of the goal or netting prior to the ball entering the goal.
– If an official recognizes a request for a timeout from the team in possession or a foul by that team before the ball breaks the plane of the goal, regardless of whether the official has had time to blow the whistle
– If an attacking player deliberately leaves his feet by jumping or diving and his momentum carries him into the crease area, regardless of where he lands in the crease, before or after the ball enters the goal

About the author

Profile photo of Connor Wilson

Connor Wilson

Connor is the Publisher of LacrosseAllStars.com. He lives in Brooklyn with his better half, continues to play and coach both box and field lacrosse in NYC as much as possible, and covers the great game that is lacrosse full-time. He spends his spare time stringing sticks and watching Futurama.

8 Comments

  • Thus ends the seemingly ever constant debate of whether or not you can kick it in for a goal. Seen it called both ways, though!

  • Thus ends the seemingly ever constant debate of whether or not you can kick it in for a goal. Seen it called both ways, though!

    I’ve seen it called both ways as well. Funny that a kicked goal can be called back for an illegal stick!

  • Oh yeah baby, kicking it in is legal, except in box of course! Great insight on some fun scenarios.

  • bhsvideodad – That video alone illustrates why crease violations are the hardest call to make in lacrosse. The great thing about your video from an officiating perspective is that the lead official comes in close to make the call and then he looks to his partner for confirmation before putting up his hands for the goal signal.

  • The one I found that doesn’t get called enough is “- After a player in the act of shooting or his teammate touches the goalkeeper in the crease or touches any part of the goal or netting prior to the ball entering the goal.”

    Should be obvious, if you touch the goalie before the ball is in the net it’s no goal, but it’s never called. Does this include if the goaltender initiates the contact himself (while still in his crease)?

  • The one I found that doesn’t get called enough is “- After a player in the act of shooting or his teammate touches the goalkeeper in the crease or touches any part of the goal or netting prior to the ball entering the goal.”

    Should be obvious, if you touch the goalie before the ball is in the net it’s no goal, but it’s never called. Does this include if the goaltender initiates the contact himself (while still in his crease)?

    This is the definition of a bang-bang play. You’d think that it would be an obvious call, but tracking the location of an 85mph shot while simultaneously looking for contact between shooter and goalkeeper is tough. Not impossible, but tough. This rule is typically applied when the goalkeeper has a chance at getting the ball. The officials are looking for an advantage gained or lost, so if the ball is well past the goalkeeper on its way into the goal and contact is made he never had a play on the ball in the first place. The officials should let that goal stand.

    To your second question – if the goalkeeper initiates contact then all bets are off because he started it.

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