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Northampton girls ultimate, Amherst boys take home Pioneer Valley Tournament titles

  • Samuel Buhl, right, of Northampton, begins a pass as a Sharon defender approaches during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nell Sanders, left, of Northampton, passes against a Ottawa defender during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Claire Babbott-Bryan, right, of Northampton, eyes an incoming pass during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Lili Lieberman-Bachman, left, of Northampton, passes against a Ottawa defender during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nell Sanders, right, of Northampton, passes against an Ottawa defender during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Claire Babbott-Bryan, left, of Northampton, passes against an Ottawa defender during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Olivia Pruett, center, of Northampton, defends a pass from Ottawa during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Claire Babbott-Bryan, right, of Northampton, goes to an incoming pass during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Lili Lieberman-Bachman, front, of Northampton, scores against Ottawa during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Invitational, Saturday at the Oxbow Marina fields. Northampton won the girls championship on Sunday. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Lili Lieberman-Bachman, front, of Northampton, scores against Ottawa during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Julia Snodgrass, of Northampton, catches a pass during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Isaac Bond, right, of Northampton, passes against a Sharon defender, Saturday. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Avery Cirincione-Lynch, left, of Northampton, passes away from a Sharon defender during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Oscar Fischer, right, of Northampton, begins a pass against Sharon during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Steve Andrews, of Northampton, begins a pass during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Asa Thomson, right, begins a pass against a Sharon defender during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Julia Snodgrass, left, of Northampton, passes to Lili Lieberman-Bachman, right, during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Julia Snodgrass, left, passes against a Ottawa defender during the Pioneer Valley Ultimate Tournament, Saturday at the Oxbow fields. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Claire Babbott-Bryan, of Northampton, scores against Ottawa. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS



For the Gazette
Monday, May 22, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — Amherst Regional took first place in the boys division and Northampton won the girls division at the fourth annual Pioneer Valley Invitational ultimate tournament, Sunday.

Northampton reached the finals after beating Radnor, 11-6, at the Oxbow Marina athletic fields.

The championship was a rematch of last season. The Blue Devils faced defending champion Four Rivers, which they had already met twice this season, winning once and losing once.

In the finals, no one held a lead of more than one until Northampton took a 7-5 lead at halftime. Northampton went on to win 13-9.

“Because they do their signature zone defense, we really had to work the handlers a lot,” Northampton co-captain Julia Snodgrass said. “And then for defense, they are so fast and really fierce, and they really want it so we just had to stay really tight on the mark and just hustle.”

Added co-captain Nell Sanders, “It was a lot of running, this was one of the hardest games, we were just sprinting constantly.”

Northampton coach Sheldon Snodgrass praised his team’s effort on defense.

“Aggressive marks on defense,” he said. “That’s it, harassing all the big up throws, we were getting hurt a lot when the other team would go big on us and we would get caught flat footed so we would try to take away that long throw and active marks.”

Snodgrass said he’s looking to instill two mindsets in his players.

“We’ve been holding our mantra, which is focused fire. I would tell them be the wolf, be the still pond,” he said. “The wolf hunts, rips, shreds, snarls, stalks and devours. You have to flip the switch to the still pond. You have to reflect on things and allow opportunities to unfold. We have really been working on that mantra of flipping that switch from still pond to snarling wolf.”

Northampton beat Cape Elizabeth, 9-7, in the quarterfinal round.

The Blue Devils went 4-0 in pool play on Saturday, beating Beacon X (13-0), West Windsor Plainsboro South (12-5), Longmeadow (13-3) and Ottawa (10-8).

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts went 0-4. It lost to Montreal (7-4), Radnor (12-2), Falmouth (12-3) and Montpelier (11-2).

Boys division

Amherst never trailed in its 13-6 semifinal win against Ottawa, and won the championship game against Falmouth, 13-5.

Amherst co-captain Harry Wolff Landau said the team’s game plan was simple.

“For every game we kind of have the same game plan, which is come out firing, stay firing the whole time, Wolff Landau said. “We were all in really high spirits and we were able to grind with smiles on our faces.”

Amherst, which is led by its three senior captains — Wolff Landau, Ryan Dinger and Ben Goldman — was playing in the tournament for the first time. The captains said they have evolved as players over their four years at the school.

“I think all of us have become leaders which, coming on, we weren’t. We were all in very different mindsets,” Wolff Landau said. “We’ve been on three very different teams, us three.”

Added Goldman, “I think after taking a leadership role on this team it was our job to create a really fun environment and we’ve done that. It’s just been an amazing senior season.”

With 15 seniors graduating, the captains have spent the last few weeks of the season preparing the younger members of the team for next season.

“I definitely just want to keep the Amherst culture going which is the combination of an absolute grind every day at practice with, also, laughter and smiles and everyone gets better in that environment,” Wolff Landau said. “There’s going to be new leadership next year so we’re going to look to give them some tips on how to help your team succeed, and we’re still learning, too, but I think we’re starting to get the hang of it.”

Added Goldman, “I think the most important thing to pass down is that balance of intensity, not wanting to ever turn the disc over, not wanting to be playing down to other teams level, while keeping it light-hearted and having a fun time at the same time.”

The trio hoped to stay involved with the team in the future.

“The Amherst family, you never leave it, you’re in it forever,” said Dinger.

Amherst beat Middletown, 13-7, in the quarterfinals.

Amherst went 3-0 in pool play on Saturday. The Hurricanes beat Longmeadow (13-2), Newton North (13-5) and Falmouth (13-6).

Northampton went 2-1. the Blue Devils beat Concord-Carlisle (10-4) and Mamaroneck (8-6), and lost to Sharon (13-3).

PVPA went 0-3. It lost to Needham (10-8), Montpelier (10-9) and Columbia JV (8-7).