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 Scorekeeping Guidelines

This guide is intended primarily to help beginning scorekeepers get comfortable with the concepts in lacrosse scorekeeping. But even seasoned veterans of scorekeeping may want to review the definitions below to brush up on the finer points.


The ball goes into the goal resulting from legal play, crossing the goal line before the period ends. Whoever threw or knocked/kicked the ball into the goal (on the offensive team) is awarded the goal. If a defender pushes the ball into his own goal, the offensive team’s “in-home” player is awarded the goal.


Any time a player intended to shoot in legal play, and the ball travels in the general direction of the goal, or the ball goes into the goal and the player was the last offensive player to touch the ball.  
Examples of “no shot”: Ball slips out of the player’s stick toward the goal Player tries to shoot but the ball slips out of his stick, either away from the goal, or goes directly to the ground, etc Player intended to pass but the goalie intercepts Shot does not occur before the end of a period Ball goes into the goal resulting from illegal play as ruled by the official (player stepped into crease, etc)


When a player passes the ball to another player leading directly to a goal. If the scoring player has to dodge any opposing player other than the goalie, the goal is unassisted.

One common source of confusion around assists concerns the distance that a player runs before scoring after receiving a pass. As long as the scoring player does not dodge an opposing player before scoring, it does not matter how far the player ran, the pass still counts as an assist.

Ground Balls

Awarded to a player who takes possession of the ball resulting in either:

a) a turnover (whether or not the ball was on the ground)
b) the player’s team maintaining possession after the ball was contested on the 

Examples of “no ground ball”: The player receives a pass (either in the air or having bounced) The player drops the ball and picks it back up uncontested The player picks up the ball uncontested after another player on his team drops it


Awarded to the first team to take possession of the ball after a face-off, where possession is not awarded by the official as a result of illegal play or the ball travelling out-of-bounds. Possession must be clearly maintained, not momentary, and often results in a ground ball being awarded as well, if the player who takes possession was not a player who faced off.


The goalie prevents a ball from going into the goal that otherwise would have gone in.


The defensive team takes possession of the ball and successfully transfers the ball across the midline and retains possession. Some levels in youth lacrosse will be instituting a 20-second rule for advancing the ball across the midline. A failed clear results when the defensive team takes possession, but does not advance the ball across the midline, either because a time limit for clearing was exceeded, or the opposing team regains possession prior to the ball crossing the midline. This is more of a “nice-to-have”, especially at levels that do not institute the 20-second clock for clears.