Ament Finds Extra Motivation in USA Blue Victory at Fall Classic

PHOTO BY NICK IERADI

Grant Ament (16) and Jack Hannah (31) congratulate each other after connecting on a first-quarter goal, one of three assists for Ament and one of three goals for Hannah in the USA Men's Showcase.


BOX SCORE

SPARKS, Md. — Grant Ament remembers all too well the sting of getting cut from a U.S. national team.

It happened six years ago, when coach Nick Myers reduced the 2016 U19 team roster from 30 to 25. Ament never forgot that feeling. Not during a college career at Penn State during which he routinely torched Ohio State and not during the USA Men’s Showcase at USA Lacrosse on Friday night.

Ament’s three first-quarter assists jumpstarted USA Blue, which scored five unanswered goals to start the game and never trailed in a 10-7 win over USA White in the opening game of the USA Lacrosse Fall Classic.

“I’d be lying if I said I don’t play with a chip on my shoulder,” Ament said. “I never lost to Coach Myers. I made sure of it. That was a game I circled personally. I’m a Penn State fan first. It doesn’t take much to get me to hate Ohio State.”

Ament found a different kind of incentive Friday.

“I go into that locker room and I see the names of the greats on the wall.  Millon, Rabil, Harrison, Pietramala, Morrow — the historic figures of our game. That gives me all the motivation I need,” Ament said. “To be in the conversation with those guys and to have an opportunity to be on the same stage that those guys were on.”







Ament set an NCAA single-season record with 96 assists while leading Penn State to the final four in 2019 and was the No. 1 pick in the 2020 Premier Lacrosse League draft.

Operating from the X attack position, Ament guided USA Blue to a 5-0 lead. He made a pinpoint feed to Colin Heacock to get the scoring started and took the top off the defense twice to find Jack Hannah, who finished with a game-high three goals.

Matt Rambo and Connor Kelly also scored during the first-quarter barrage. Overall, seven of 10 USA Blue goals were assisted, including a pair of helpers from Chris Gray.

“Everyone on the field is a threat,” Hannah said. “It’s a good time to find a guy who a hundred percent will score that ball if you put it on his ear.”

Goalie Jack Kelly also starred in the first 15 minutes, making five saves as USA Blue blanked USA White in the first quarter.

The possession balance tilted in USA White’s favor from there, however, fueled in part by TD Ierlan’s 8-for-10 performance at the faceoff stripe. Trailing 6-2 at halftime, USA White turned it on in the third quarter.

Bryan Costabile scored twice, Liam Byrnes had a nifty long-pole putback and Brennan O’Neill converted in front with 2.5 seconds to make it 7-6.

USA White pulled within one again in the fourth quarter, but Koby Smith intercepted a pass near midfield to start a fast break that finished with Connor Shellenberger converting a feed from Gray to put USA Blue ahead 9-7 with 2:42 remaining.

Tom Schreiber added an empty-netter for the final margin.

After participating in cool-down stretches and signing autographs at Tierney Field, Ament retreated to the locker room where again he saw the names on the wall. He hopes his will be among them. As do all 52 U.S. training team members vying for 23 spots on the roster USA Lacrosse will carry to San Diego for the 2023 World Lacrosse Men’s Championship next summer.

“Those are the guys that not only molded my game, but they’re my heroes in a lot of ways,” Ament said of the current and future Hall of Famers inscribed on the locker room walls. “I’m also kind of playing with some guys out here that are my heroes as well.”

The U.S. men’s training team will be back in action Saturday, taking on NCAA champion Maryland in a pair of split-squad games at Tierney Field at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

In between those games, the U.S. women’s national team faces NCAA champion North Carolina at 12 p.m. Eastern. Both teams are coached by Jenny Levy, who will be inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame on Saturday night.

All Tierney Field games during the USA Lacrosse Fall Classic will be streamed live on USALacrosse.com.

Ontario Unbeaten After First Day of Brogden Cup

U16 and U18 men's and women's teams representing Ontario and the Haudenosaunee Nation opened the Brogden Cup at USA Lacrosse on Friday. Team Ontario swept the first four games of the event, which is staged in conjunction with the Fall Classic.

U16 Men: Ontario 11, Haudenosaunee 7

Matthew Drimmie scored three goals and Jacob Keller added a pair of tallies, as Team Ontario rallied from a 6-4 third-quarter deficit to defeat the Haudenosaunee 11-7.

U16 Women: Ontario 14, Haudenosaunee 6

Seven different players scored at least two goals, headlined by hat tricks from Maive Partlow and Ali-Ray Hanlon, in Team Ontario's 14-6 victory.

U18 Men: Ontario 17, Haudenosaunee 4

Casey Realini scored five goals and added an assist to lead Team Ontario to a 17-4 win over the Haudenosaunee. Gabriel Sorichetti and Gavin Howard contributed four goals apiece.

U18 Women: Ontario 17, Haudenosaunee 10

Reggie Williams, Jillian Goldie, Lauren Bailey and Hattie Manser each scored three goals in Team Ontario's 17-10 victory.
 

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