Random Thoughts on UVA-Duke and Thumbing the Ball


This past weekend I watched the Duke-UVA game on ESPN2. I had picked UVA to win but Duke dominated all day long and the 15-10 score made the game seem closer than it ever really was. I had a few observations from the game and most have to do with the teams/players themselves…

Shemel could use some accuracy lessons
Let’s start with Shamel Bratton basically being unguardable from up top. Now if he could only shoot a little better/more consistently (not harder! he rips it at 99mph every time) he would be the best player in the game. His shooting against Duke was really hard to watch… that is how bad it was. 

Quick thoughts on other players: I was very impressed with Ned Crotty as he looks really comfortable with the ball in his stick and makes everyone around him better.  People diss Attackman Max Quinzani like nobody’s business but the Crotty can really playkid can straight up finish and plays unselfish team lacrosse.
Steele Stanwick on UVA’s attack will be a treat to watch for the next couple of years. VA defenseman Clausen has a GREAT stick and Tims is a great overall defender.  Goalie  Rob Schroeder looked suspect every other game I saw him play in and Duke will need to upgrade their goaltending to make any real waves.  The Duke D is big (so is UVA!) and they throw wood but still looked beatable in settled 6 on 6 even if UVA didn’t make them pay.

However, what really stuck out to me most was the flagrant flouting of the rules and, correspondingly, the refs’ seeming inability to catch it (or call it) surrounding a hand on the plastic of the stick.

Section 13 of the NCAA Men’s lacrosse rules book clearly states:

Note: A player in possession of the ball who holds his crosse against any part of his body, thus preventing the normal dislodgment of the ball, is illegally withholding the ball from play. The glove hand cannot grasp any portion of the head of the crosse. This is intended to cover faceoffs and a player in possession of the ball who is “thumbing” the ball or choking up and grasping the plastic portion of the crosse. A player, players or team may not deliberately withhold the ball from play. Repeated actions of this nature may be ruled unsportsmanlike conduct. (See Rule 5-10-d.)

As you can see from the photos below (courtesy of lax.com) players are putting their hands ALL OVER the plastic.  It happens on face-offs and also during the normal course of play.  The NCAA should either do away with the rule or instruct the refs to start calling it.  Drawstrings were allowed for so long that the game was corrupted as entire teams were using them.  I really hope that thumbing does not become any more commonplace than it already has because the NCAA has done a good job of limitingdrawstrings and next season will regulate how narrow heads/pockets can be.  

Thumb-tastic!Now am I making a bigger deal out of this than I need to be? Of course I am!  However, the NCAA shouldn’t let this rule go unenforced for another minute because it makes them seem ignorant to how the game is being played and hypocritical in that the drawstrings rule is new and enforced but a similar rule designed for the same purposes goes unenforced.

Caught in the act