(Photo Courtesy of Premier Lacrosse League)
Archers LC took the field for the first time on Monday night, taking down Atlas LC, 11-10, in a tightly contest battle.
But the biggest storyline coming out of the game wasn’t necessarily Archers reeling in the dub. No, the biggest storyline was the impressive play of Archers’ Grant Ament and Atlas’ Bryan Costabile, the No. 1 and No. 2 selections, respectively, in this year’s PLL College Draft.
The pair both came into their rookie seasons in the PLL with high expeditions, and both have seemingly lived up to the hype thus far. And by the end of the game, the newest rivalry, at least amongst fans, in pro lacrosse had begun.
Ament, a Penn State product, started to find his groove in the second quarter, just as the rest of the Archers offense seemed to do. The NCAA DI single-season assists record holder didn’t make his initial mark on the game with his passing game, like many had expected, but with his elite quickness, ability to get open, and get to the rack.
His first goal came off an assist from Will Manny at X. Ament caught his defender sleeping and was able to execute a beautiful backdoor cut to finish inside five yards. He then showed off his footwork and speed, making Kyle Hartzell look silly for his second career goal and taking advantage of a big-little matchup to put in his third goal of the game.
Ament ended the game with four points (3G/1A). His lone assist also came in the second quarter, as he fed a wide-open Will Manny on the crease from up top to finish off a beautiful transition sequence with an exclamation point.
Costabile, a Notre Dame, grad had the better all-around performance of the two far as sustained success through the game goes. The two-way midfielder helped get Atlas off to a hot start, following up a sniper from Romar Dennis with a two-bomb in transition to get his first points as a pro.
The midfielder followed that up, almost immediately, with a diving goal to stretch Atlas’ early lead to 4-1. Costabile found the back of the net twice more in the second half, including this top left corner snipe after, where he made Tom Schreiber look silly getting stuck on defense.
Beyond Costabile’s goal scoring attributes, he showed why he is one of the best young two-way midfielders in the game. The rookie made his presence know on defense, wreaking havoc on that end of the field. He recorded one caused turnover in the contest, which also came against Tom Schreiber.
With Ament and Costabile being taken first and second overall in the same draft, their names will forever be linked and we should see them face each other plenty of times during their pro careers. And if Monday night showed us anything, it’s that this could very well be the next rivalry that defines and captivates the sport at the pro level in the very near future.
Just like NBA has Zion Williamson and Ja Morant, the PLL now has Grant Ament and Bryan Costabile. And this ride is going to be fun to watch.