The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a proposal Thursday to allow free movement in women's lacrosse. The change is intended to improve the pace and flow of the game by allowing players to continue moving after the official blows the whistle. Previously, all players had to stop on the whistle. Under the new rule, players can keep moving after a foul or violation while the player possessing the ball restarts play. A 2-meter nonengagement area will be established around the player awarded possession of the ball, and players will be free to move outside the nonengagement area. For violations of the nonengagement area, or delays clearing out of the nonengagement area, teams will receive one initial team warning. Subsequent violations and delays will result in a green card and immediate one-minute penalty. The panel also approved the following changes:
•Draws: Each team will be allowed to have only three players enter the midfield area to gain possession of the ball on draws. The remaining players must remain behind the restraining line until possession is established.
•Goal interpretations: Next season, if an official's whistle is blown at the same time or immediately after a player releases a shot, a ball entering the net will be counted as a goal. Also, if a shot is released before the game clock expires and the ball crosses the goal line, it will count as a goal. Previously, the ball had to cross the goal line before time expired to count as a goal.
•Yellow cards: On a team's fourth yellow card, the offending player must serve a two-minute nonreleasable penalty. That will also be the penalty for each subsequent yellow card after the fourth yellow card is administered to a team.
•Self-sarts: Players will be permitted to self-start in the final two minutes of each half and during overtime. Players also will be permitted to self-start if the ball goes out of bounds on the endline or sideline.
More women's lacrosse: Loyola Maryland head coach Jen Adams (Maryland) was appointed commissioner of the Women's Professional Lacrosse League, the league announced last week. The launch of the WPLL was announced June 1 and will begin play in Summer 2018. The inaugural draft will take place this August. Adams will join founder Michele DeJuliis and director of player relations Devon Wills in launching the league.
Horse racing: Fair Hill-based trainer Arnaud Delacour swept a pair of $40,000 maiden special weight events that highlighted the 10-race program at Laurel Park. Goiaba and Greek Mythology, 3-year-old fillies owned by Bonne Chance Farm, were debut winners to give Delacour eight victories from 16 starts at the current summer meet. ... Ridden by Elliot Ohgren for trainer Fenneka Bentley and owner Katrina Becker, Buddly Buddy ($14.40) ran 1 mile over a Dahlia Turf Course rated good in 1 minute, 42.69 seconds in the third race. The $22,000 maiden claiming event was the second of two FEGENTRI International Federation of Gentlemen & Lady Riders races during the meet. ... Jockey J.D. Acosta enjoyed a two-win day with Big Bella Brown ($8.80) in the fourth race and Blondie Girl ($24) in the eighth.
National Women's Soccer League: The Washington Spirit (3-8-3) fell, 2-1, against the host Portland Thorns (7-4-4) on Saturday night. The Spirit took the lead in the 58th minute on a goal by Havana Solaun, but Portland tied the game just four minutes later on a strike by Allie Long. Mallory Weber added the game-winner in the 80th minute. The NWSL will be off next week, as the United States women's national team hosts Australia, Brazil and Japan for the Tournament of Nations from Thursday to Aug. 3.
Women's college volleyball: Navy named senior Tara Dotzauer team captain.
Women's college tennis: Maryland promoted Katie Dougherty to associate head coach. Dougherty joined the Terps as an assistant last season after spending seven years as the head coach at Iowa.