Grant Ament Ruled Out For the Archers in Week 2
Late in the fourth quarter of the Archers Lacrosse Club’s week 1 win against the Cannons, attackman Grant Ament suffered a left hamstring strain which means that he is out for this week’s contest against Chrome LC. With faceoff set for Friday at 6:00 PM EST on ESPN+, the Archers will need to account for Ament’s absence at attack.
The severity of Ament's injury
Fortunately, Ament’s injury doesn’t appear to be as severe as the left hamstring injury he suffered in training camp a year ago which forced him to miss half the 2022 regular season. This time around, the Archers are optimistic that him sitting out Friday’s game is a safety measure which will allow him to be available for the remainder of the season.
On Wednesday, Archers Head Coach Chris Bates said that not playing Ament this week is a safety measure to avoid any setbacks. “It’s just that, being smart.” he noted.
Who will fill in for Ament at attack
In Ament’s absence, three players stand out as potential fill-ins at attack alongside Connor Fields and Mac O’Keefe. Connor DeSimone impressed while filling in for Ament last year, and Bates expects him to get the starting nod against Chrome.
“‘DeSo’ is in the lineup and is a natural fit down there,” said Bates. “He fills off ball space well. He draws the defense to him and creates space for others. He’s a tough down low finisher and has some experience down there.”
Bates continued his praise of the Johns Hopkins product, referencing how “when Grant was out last year, ‘DeSo’ did a really good job in his absence.”
As Bates mentioned, DeSimone notched seven goals and five assists (12 points) in the five games that Ament missed in 2022. He provided a capable fit at the position and he produced well while playing as a complementary piece alongside the club's collection of weapons.
“Matt has played both [attack and midfield] but finished his college career as an attackman so he’s very comfortable,” Bates emphasized. “He’s a big, strong presence. Whether it’s a short or a long pole, it doesn’t matter. He can go and get in your body and see what happens.”
Moore is definitely a player more comfortable with initiating the offense than DeSimone. As Bates alluded to, his willingness to throw his weight around and embrace contact makes him a headache to guard wherever he plays on the field.
In his rookie season last year, Moore shot an impressive 33.3% off dodges and led the league in unassisted goals. He’s also a very capable feeder when he is conscious of keeping his head up. Playing attack and dodging the best close defenders in the world is absolutely a different kettle of fish than taking on short sticks and occasionally long stick midfielders out of the box. The edge Moore gets on defensive midfielders with the combination of superior strength, speed, and footwork wouldn’t be as drastic. But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t successfully fill in for a few games or over a more extended stretch, if necessary.
Sliding Moore down to attack could also get him valuable extra touches which would be an effective use of offensive resources considering the Virginia alum only registered 12 touches (eighth on the team) in week one.
With regard to giving Schreiber a few runs at attack, Bates noted how “it’s an interesting place to start him,” because “it’s just a different access point to the offense where we’re trying to create some different angles for him.”
Ament’s injury and the 32-second shot clock after faceoff wins provides a strong case for Schreiber — the best player on the team — to be kept on the field for the full 48 minutes. Bates’ point that “we can put Tom anywhere and he’ll be just fine,” is a valid one considering the three-time midfielder of the year’s versatility. As evidenced by the Archers playing him at attack in the final minutes against the Cannons and the dagger of a goal he scored off a dodge from behind the net, Schreiber can be effective anywhere on the field and keeping him at attack could ensure that the club doesn’t have to rely on running other players off the field to get him on it.
DeSimone will likely get the start against Chrome with Moore and potentially Schreiber getting looks at attack as well depending on how the offense is performing. Assuming Ament’s injury isn’t too serious, he shouldn’t be missing much time especially considering the three week break for the World Games — which Ament won’t be participating in — that comes after week 3. If the Archers can get by with the combination of DeSimone, Moore, and Schreiber filling in at attack on Friday, they should be able to prevent Ament’s injury from having any serious impact on the club’s 2023 season.