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Rules for the Crease in Lacrosse

A goalie has utter protection within the crease, a small area surrounding the goal. But when the goalie steps outside of the crease in an attempt to get the ball, an opposing player can sweep underneath the goalie's stick to dislocate the ball. A goalie is most often advised to stay within his protected “home,” unless he can be sure of gaining the ball or checking it from an opponent’s stick, according to the book, “Lacrosse: Technique and Tradition.”


The nine-foot-wide crease is semicircular in box lacrosse. In field lacrosse, the semicircle is 18 feet wide, according to the book “Lacrosse for Dummies.”

Shot on Goal

When an offensive player goes into the crease, his team loses possession of the ball. If he scores while in the crease--or even steps on the crease line--the goal is revoked. If the ball enters the net before he steps on or over the line, however, the goal stands. These rules are the same for box and field lacrosse.

Time Frame

After a goalie stops the ball within the crease, she has 10 seconds to get the ball to a teammate who is outside the crease. The team loses ball possession if she misses this time frame, advise Janine Tucker and Maryalice Yakutchik, authors of “Women’s Lacrosse.”


An offensive player who leans or reaches into the defending team’s crease is penalized unless he is making or faking a shot on goal. The offending player is sent to the penalty area, leaving his team one player short. If a defensive player breaks the plane of the crease, the attacking team gets an indirect free position that’s level with the goal line on the 12-meter fan that goes to the side of the goal. The exception is a player who is “deputized” to stand in for the goalie while the goalie is outside the crease.

Outside the Crease

When a player other than a goalie touches the ball with her hand while outside of the crease, the other team gains ball possession, according to “Lacrosse for Dummies.”

About the Author

Linda Tarr Kent is a reporter and editor with more than 20 years experience at Gannett Company Inc., The McClatchy Company, Sound Publishing Inc., Mach Publishing, MomFit The Movement and other companies. Her area of expertise is health and fitness. She is a Bosu fitness and stand-up paddle surfing instructor. Kent holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Washington State University.

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