As if it weren't enough to have to adjust to the unique style of each opponent in the Under-19 World Lacrosse Championships, the United States women have had to adjust to international rules, several of which are much different from those used in American scholastic and collegiate competition.
In their tournament-opening, 13-9 win over Australia on Friday night, the U.S. women had the most difficulty with hard boundaries, which were instituted in international play in 2002.
Instead of possession being awarded to the player closest to the ball when it goes out of bounds (except when the ball is shot), the international rules give a turnover to the player who last touched the ball.
While the Australians are used to the rule, breaking for their goal when they see a ball heading out of bounds off an American stick, the U.S. players have found it hard to adjust.
"That's really hard to get used to," said U.S. attacker Kristen Waagbo. "The Australians, if they knew the ball was going out of bounds, would run to get an advantage, but we'll get used to it."
Several other rules differences have been easier to adjust to, including being able to follow through into the crease with the stick after a shot and having eight players rather than seven below the restraining line.
Ross Bucktooth is pretty good at stopping the ball, but scoring goals is not one of his responsibilities.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound goalie had 17 saves in the Iroquois Nation's 11-7 loss to England yesterday. With one outstanding play late in the second quarter, he got a taste of the other end of the spectrum, scoring the third Iroquois goal after a series of nifty dodges and fakes that fooled half the English defense.
Midfielder Jeremy Thompson, who came up with a game-high eight ground balls, said, "Ross has done that before, but I was still kind of surprised when it went in."
Bucktooth, headed for Herkimer (N.Y.) Community College next year, is part of a long family lacrosse tradition.
His cousin, Grant, who will play for Hobart next year, had an assist yesterday. Grant's brothers, Drew and A.J., are members of the Syracuse lacrosse team, and their father, Freeman Bucktooth, "is responsible for a lot of the Iroquois success," according to coach Rory Whipple.
Temperatures hovering around 88 degrees with 30 percent humidity on the turf at Minnegan Field at Towson Stadium seemed mild yesterday compared with earlier in the week, but some players still had trouble adjusting.
Surprisingly, the heat seemed to bother the Australian women as much as their English counterparts in the Aussies' 8-5 win in a 2 p.m. game.
"It's bit of the seasonal change, but in general it's just hotter here," said Australian midfielder Tegan Brown. "It's a lot hotter in the stadium, so we take a lot of drink breaks."
One player for Australia, Jacqueline Surendorff, was overcome by the heat and had to leave the field. John Lopez, the director of the Towson Sports Medicine Center, who has been monitoring temperatures on the field, said Surendorff had been feeling ill for several days and the decongestant she was taking made it easier to dehydrate. He said she would be fine.
The Australian women hail primarily from southern part of the country, where the temperatures aren't so warm, said coach Meredith Carre. Also, they left home in a different season - fall was just turning to winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
Anne Smith, the English team's coach, said temperatures rarely go above 80 in the British Isles, even in summer.
Throughout the tournament, fog misters are available to teams, and water breaks are taken during the games. The Australian women also have a couple of ice vests, which players put on when they leave the field.
Duncan Swanston, a defenseman from Boys' Latin, played in England's tournament-opening loss to Canada but was scratched from the team's roster after he had a relapse of mononucleosis.
Iroquois attackman Stewart Monture (Herkimer), who had nine goals in last month's win over CCBC-Essex in the National Junior College Athletic Association championship game, has not been able to join the team because of a family commitment.
Sun staff writer Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.