Hot Pot Of Lax: Penalty Or Ejection?

Princeton vs. Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse 40

I love lacrosse because it’s fast and physical, and because the sport requires skill and toughness.  I also recognize that there are rules out there designed to protect players, and keep the games from getting out of hand.

When I saw the hit below last weekend in the UVA – Hopkins game, I definitely thought that the UVA player would get assessed at least two unreleasable minutes.  Instead it was a one-minute unreleasable penalty.  The Lacrosse Network captured the hit and it’s gotten over 6,000 views on Youtube.  Let’s dig in!

Arguing over whether or not something should be 1 or 2 minutes, or 2 or 3 minutes is kind of pointless because that is really within the ref’s discretion.  We won’t bandy about in that manner.  But we will ask, “should this have been a Penalty… or an Ejection?” because we want to see what our readers have to say on the matter!

Here are some quick observations:

-The hit was head to head and the Hop player lost his helmet.

-The Hopkins player had lost the ball when he was hit but was still within 5 yards of it.

-The UVA player seems to leave his feet, and hits the JHU player with an upward motion.

-The UVA player also approaches the hit ready to crosscheck the Hopkins player.

Watch the hit above and drop us a quick note in the comments with your thoughts!  Is this a run of the mill penalty?  Is this an ejection?  Or should offensive players just pay better attention?



– St. Paul’s loses to Hereford in early MD high school lacrosse action | Baltimore Sun

– Ann Elliott to be the first women’s lacrosse coach at Colorado | Colorado Daily

– Bullis Girls Lacrosse players now FORCED to wear helmets | Gazette.Net



I am pretty sure that Paul Rabil has NOT signed up for any backyard wrestling events.  But the guy below doesn’t seem quite so sure.  He calls Rabil a fraud and a phony, and says that PR99 grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth… but I really think it’s all in an attempt to get Rabil to wrestle him.  Seriously.  WWE has nothing on this guy!

This is easily the best lacrosse-related video I’ve ever found on Youtube. You are SO welcome!


  1. Idk if it deserves an ejection. You could use the NFL/College football arguement that the Hopkins player was defensless and in a vulnerable state. With that in mind, I am suprised that it was not at least a 2 min penalty. In the Miami vs. FL State game a player was ejected for hitting a defensless player. If the Virginia player was ejected AT Klockner, that would have been crazy! Maybe the refs were afraid for their lives. I think the only time someone will get ejected from a lacrosse game is if there is a fight (UNC vs Maryland) or a player uses their stick as a weapon (which would start a fight).

  2. It’s a violent sport.  Certainly deserves a penalty but ejection shouldn’t even be considered.  To take the rest of the game away from a player just because he hits an opponent is ridiculous.  In my eyes the only thing that would justify an ejection is a hit after the whistle had blown or a hit significantly farther away from the ball than this one with clear intent to injure.  This game is the little brother of war and hits like this one are all too rare these days.

    • If I’m the ref on that game no ejection, but 3 minutes full time.  This was a clear leading with the head AND targeting the head.  
      To say that this is “little brother of war” and that these hits are “too rare” is crap.  Respect the game by respecting your opponent.  That hit was not a good part of the game, it was a dirty play.  I’m all in favor of bit hits and physical play and as a lifelong defenseman I’m going to give most guys on D the benefit of the doubt.  Not here.  This is at least the 3rd season that hits with and to the head are a point of emphasis and players have been reminded that time and time again.  

      This was leading WITH the head and TARGETING the head.  

      • Lacrosse is a test of what you have as a man, Strength, Toughness, Intelligence, and Skill.  Part of what makes this such an exciting sport is people risking physical pain to make a great play. There should always be a slight fear of getting your bell rung.  If you can’t take getting hit like this, there are several other sports you can play.

        • Please give away all your equipment and stop playing lacrosse.  You clearly do not get it.  EVERY sport at the college and professional level realizes how dangerous head shots are and the permanent damage that can result from concussion and spinal injuries.  If that hit takes place in the NFL, NHL or MLL it is just as dirty.  There is a huge difference between the fear of being hit by a physical player and someone trying to give you a closed head injury.

          I’m not kidding.  If you think that there is any place for this in any sport at any level you need help.  

          • dude the guy ducked into the hit a little bit. he wasn’t leading with his head at all. 

      • I’m curious how you interpret this as targeting the head. I think he clearly leads with his helmet (though the brunt of the damage is not done with his helmet), but it seems hard to make the conclusion that he targeted the head as well when the only part of his body that makes contact with the UNC player’s helmet is his own helmet and the most violent part of the hit comes from the impact on the UNC player’s torso, not his head. That seems to be more a product of their heights at the time of the hit than any attempt to go for a headshot. Now, had he led with his hands/stick/shoulder to the head, I think you could make an argument for targeting, but that isn’t the case here. 1 minute penalty and move on with the game.

        As an aside, I don’t think many coaches would get upset about a penalty like that. Sets a tone defensively for sure. Sometimes picking up a penalty is a necessary evil.

  3. Penalty, but no ejection of course. Vicious hit? Yes. 

    Vicious sport? Yes.

    The guy was trying to lay a hit on the ball carrier. He did it incorrectly. As a coach, I would certainly want my defense to play aggressively if someone is trying to drive to the goal. You can’t just let them walk right in. It has to be physical. Should he have gone for a hit that makes him look like a pissed off teenager? No. But should he have gone for some type of body check? Absolutely. 

    •  Agreed.  He has to take the body there.  If someone is trying to dodge
      down the alley you have to slide and you have to take the body.  The
      issue is not that there was a hit, the issue was that it was hit that
      lead with the head that targeted the head.  

  4. NFL that gets a $50,000 fine. Hell, it might even draw an ejection in the NFL because his helmet came off.
     Since these are college players, no fines will be incurred.  I say it’s an ejection.Here is why. I love to hit. I am a big defender and love nothing more than feeling a lesser mans body crumple as I hit him. However there is a way to hit and a way not to hit. This kid clearly drops his head and the hit could not have been placed any more specifically on the head of the JHU player.
    It’s dirty play. 
    And it’s dangerous, to both players. 
    At the least there might need to be a stiffer penalty created for hits like this. 5 min? Trust me, I am the last person who thinks we need to “pussify” our sports. But that was a dangerous and dirty play. 

  5.  -The hit was head to head and the Hop player lost his helmet.>> – 1 Min penalty Locked in

    -The Hopkins player had lost the ball when he was hit but was still within 5 yards of it. >> –  Not Illegal

    -The UVA player seems to leave his feet, and hits the JHU player with an upward motion >>. –  Not illegal

    -The UVA player also approaches the hit ready to crosscheck the Hopkins player. >> – Not illegal

    1 min Penalty with it locked in because it was head to head.  I think they made the right call.  If he did all the same stuff except he put his shoulder into the guy’s sternum it would have been a clean hit.  From the looks of it, the helmet might have still come off.

  6. As far as the rules go right now, I thought fighting was the only expulsionary foul.  Vicious hit, definitely.  Dangerous for both, definitely.  The second it happened I said it would have to be at least a 2 minute locked in, if not 3.  I was very surprised it only got one.  However, it woke Guida up, and I think he scored 2 after the hit.
    As a former player and present coach and father of a high school player who has been dealing with the effects of a concussion for the last 2 months, I can attest to how devastating concussions can be too.

  7. Should UVA have led with his feet? Sumo chest bump? Punch him with his hands? Ran into him without his knees bent? How else do you hit someone head on while they are very very fast and very dangerous and driving to the goal that you are out there to protect? Maybe he could have put his shoulder into him but then people will say he could hurt his collarbone! Lacrosse is about creativity, how you hit shows just as much creativity as how you shoot. It is up to the player and I for one would have been chomping at the bits if I had an opportunity to light up Guida. The guy is freaking good and uva defense shuts him down!!

  8. You have to also take into account that the officials only got to see this play in real time, if you were watching this game then you would realize that without replay a 1 minute full time penalty was well deserved. Watching it again it could have been a 2 minute because of the violent nature of the hit because Guida was a defenseless player at the time. I agree that this was the right play by the defender for taking the body and Guida definitely will think twice about trying to dodge through the entire Virginia defense again.

  9. I think the refs made the proper call. Yes it was head to head but the Bluejay’s helmet was not properly affixed to his head as anyone that wears a Pro7 or CPXR can attest to. If you have them cinched them down as per the manufacture’s instructions you know how nice they fit.

    Other than that I see nothing but great lacrosse being played here. I see a solid slide from UVA’s shorty that recognized his fellow middie was in trouble and slid body to body to defend his goal. Yes he should have gotten his head down more as to avoid the head to head but if you look at it in review he raises his head up at the point of contact as he sees the ground ball but is already committed to the hit. These are all good things from a teamwork perspective and I work so hard trying to instill timing and communication with my high school kids I coach. We all know you play defense as a team. UVA demonstrates that very well here. If the hit would have been 6 inches lower it would have been a UVA fast break and most likely a goal…

    In Hopkins’ defense I’d like to say that their player got right up off his feet, put his bucket right back on, and stayed on the field for the EMO and buried his shot in UVA’s goal. That’s how you get them back for penalties. Make them pay on the score board. I know that same player had at least one more goal that afternoon post hit and played hard for the rest of the game. Straight class and heart.

    That’s lacrosse Gent’s. Play hard, keep a cool mind, if you find yourself on the ground get up, and for your Mother’s sake wear your helmet properly!!!


  10. The lack of knowledge of what the actual rules actually are scares me.  Do you guys really play that game?  Read the rule book. 

    For starters.  THE CHAIR of the rules committee is Brian Voelker the head coach at Drexel.  He was also one of the hardest hitting defensemen to ever play that game when at Hopkins, on the US Team and in the MLL.  If he’s on board with these changes I think it sends a message.  

    2nd.  The first page of the book that talks about the rules is the points of emphasis and there are only 2 this year.  Head and neck issues are front and center. 

    “Sportsmanship: The committee is increasingly concerned that in some areas, inappropriate conduct is occurring in and around NCAA lacrosse contests. The committee asks administrators, coaches, student-athletes and game officials to take
    measures if needed to address these issues.

    Protection of Head and Neck: Student-athlete safety plays a part in virtually every rules committee decision. In recent years, the committee has attempted to address head and neck contact in a variety of ways. In this rules cycle, the committee asks
    game officials to stringently penalize head and neck contact. A new rule has
    been added to address this issue specifically”

    3rd.  Under personal fouls and illegal body checks:
    “c.  Initiating contact with an opponent above the shoulders of the opponent. To
    be legal, a body check must be below the neck, and both hands of the player
    applying the body check must remain in contact with his crosse.

    e. The blocking of an opponent with the head or initiating contact with the head,
    known as “spearing.” A minimum of a one-minute nonreleasable penalty
    shall be assessed for spearing. A three-minute nonreleasable penalty shall be
    assessed if the spearing was violent.”

    4th Under Technical Fouls there is a specific rule on head/neck.

    “Targeting the Head/NeckSECTION 14. A player shall not deliberately initiate contact to an opponent’shead or neck with a cross-check, or any part of his body (head, elbow, shoulder,etc.) or stick. Any follow-through that contacts the head or neck shall also beconsidered a violation of this rule.PENALTY—One, two or three minute nonreleasable foul, at the referee’sdiscretion. Excessive violation of this rule may result in an ejection from the game.”

    The issues on this play and the rules are being skewed.  It does not matter if the Hop players drove on 3 poles, had his head down, dropped the ball, lost his stick, didn’t have his helmet on tight, had the helmet pop off of ANYTHING else that has been mentioned here.  The UVA player led with his helmet and the first and main point of contact was the Hopkins players head.  

    That is the point of emphasis, that is why there are links on health and safety under Player, Coach and Official on US Lacrosse’s website.  That is why there are a dozen videos and articles on head injuries here: 

    I’m a lifelong defenseman that take pride in a physical game and believes that the UVA player did need to slide and put the Hop player on his butt.  The issue is that the head was involved.  We need players to play physical between the whistles and we need to make sure everyone leaves the field without debilitating head injuries.