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Men’s lacrosse’s Hershman returns to roots with Puerto Rico national team

Photo by Maggie Bean via Marquette Athletics

Photo by Maggie Bean via Marquette Athletics

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Men’s lacrosse sophomore faceoff specialist Jared Hershman will travel outside of the United States for the first time this July, playing for the Puerto Rican national team at the 2018 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships in Netanya, Israel.

Hershman’s mother is Puerto Rican and his father is Jewish. Hershman said he is excited to see the country that represents his father’s ancestry while playing the sport he loves.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for me to be representing my roots, and given the rough time that Puerto Rico has been having with the hurricane situation, hopefully we can give them a bright side to look at, ” Hershman said. “On the other side, I get to visit my other roots in Israel, and being able to explore that place — it humbles me and will be an amazing experience.”

Hershman will not be the only Marquette lacrosse member competing internationally. Golden Eagles head coach Joe Amplo is an assistant on Team USA.

Although the United States and Puerto Rico are in different preliminary pols, Amplo said he will get to watch as a fan and enjoy Hershman’s play.

“I think it’s great for him to get exposure at the international level,” Amplo said. “It will be a great experience for him to compete for them and get some more reps against some really good opponents.”

The Puerto Rican national team was just formed in 2016, but Hershman already has a modicum of international experience because of Marquette’s scrimmage against the Scottish national team this fall.

“It’s definitely become a small world in the lacrosse community,” Hershman said. “However, you can see everywhere where it’s taking off. Just from different clinics and people that you play with throughout the club circuit, you get to know a lot of players from all over the place.”

Last spring, Marquette associate head coach Stephen Brundage told Hershman about the Puerto Rican team. After the season, Hershman heard from Puerto Rican head coach Jeff Ramos and the two began emailing back and forth.

“(Coach Ramos) saw me play at a few summer ball games, and we talked a little bit more about (the team),” Hershman said. “We came to the consensus that it would be a great opportunity to play for him in Israel.”

The Puerto Rican team will practice in New York City before leaving for Israel in early July since 15 out of the 24 players either go to school in the city or are from the area.

Hershman has not appeared in a game this season while he rehabs from injury. He was supposed to play against Detroit Mercy in Marquette’s 13-6 victory last weekend, but a limited amount of faceoffs late in the game delayed his return.

In the meantime, he will prepare for World Championship play by going up against senior Zachary Melillo, Marquette’s all-time leader in faceoff wins and percentage, and fellow senior Owen Weselak.

“At first, when I first came to campus, it was definitely intimidating going up against Zach and Owen,” Hershman said. “As I got to know them more, it became more fun. Now, the relationship is great. We love just picking each others’ brains about faceoffs and we are not just working on getting ourselves better, but bettering each other.”

Along with Amplo, Melillo and Weselak have helped Hershman understand where he needs to improve and grow as a player.

“It’s a process and for him, and (Hershman’s) had to learn the college game,” Amplo said. “He’s improved his ability with the ball, and from last year to this year, his improvement has been great.”

While Amplo and Team USA will be looking to win the championship, Hershman and Puerto Rico want to build something for the future.

“There is a lot of momentum right now within the organization,” Hershman said. “Right now, we are working on growing, but this summer will be a big opportunity to show that we belong on the world stage.”

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