Riley Field of the University of Maine hustles up the field during a 2018 field hockey game. College rules have changed this season to make games four 15-minute quarters rather than two 35-minute halves. Credit: Courtesy of UMaine Athletics

College field hockey games are 10 minutes shorter this season under rules mandated by the NCAA.

That is one of two significant rule changes implemented by the governing body of college sports.

The games will be divided into four 15-minute quarters instead of two 35-minute halves. The move aligns college field hockey with the format used in international play.

There is now a two-minute break between the first and second and third and fourth quarters along with a 10-minute halftime intermission.

With the addition of the two-minute breaks, teams are not allowed a timeout. Previously, each team was permitted one timeout per game.

The other noteworthy rule change has the referee stop the clock on a penalty corner while the defensive players put on their face shields. In the past, the clock was not stopped and several minutes of potential playing time were lost as players donned their shields in preparation for penalty corners.

University of Maine head coach Josette Babineau said one of the positives with the penalty corners is that it will stop defending teams that are protecting a lead from stalling while putting the face shields on to run time off the clock.

She said research indicates that the amount of game time saved by that rule change will mean playing time will be similar to the former 70-minute format.

“[The time elapsed] depends on the number of penalty corners,” Babineau said.

Babineau said coaches have told her the format with four 15-minute quarters has kept games closer because it is easier to keep fresher players on the field. And coaches also are able to address their teams during the quarter and halftime breaks.

Babineau said coaches also have the flexibility of taking a player off the field a minute or two before the end of a quarter so they can get additional rest.

She said one likely trend with the new format is that it will enable coaches to reduce the number of players on the roster or the number of players they need to use because those in the game are more rested.

Field hockey substitution rules are loose in that players waiting to come on are positioned in the substitution area, and they can come onto the field when the player they are replacing leaves the field in the substitution area. There does not have to be a stoppage in play.