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Amherst boys soccer ties Ludlow, clinches postseason

  • Mike Rock of Amherst, right, moves the ball beside Luke Woishnis of Ludlow Monday in Ludlow.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Mike Rock of Amherst, right, moves the ball beside Luke Woishnis of Ludlow Monday in Ludlow.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mike Rock of Amherst, left, gets control of a pass beside Matthew Dent of Ludlow Monday in Ludlow.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Mike Rock of Amherst, left, gets control of a pass beside Matthew Dent of Ludlow Monday in Ludlow.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Curtis Barnes of Amherst, left, prepares to make a save as teammate Jaimon Olmsted defends Jahbari Robinson of Ludlow Monday in Ludlow. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Curtis Barnes of Amherst, left, prepares to make a save as teammate Jaimon Olmsted defends Jahbari Robinson of Ludlow Monday in Ludlow.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jesse Welborn of Amherst, right, moves the ball as James Patterson of Ludlow keeps pace Monday in Ludlow.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Jesse Welborn of Amherst, right, moves the ball as James Patterson of Ludlow keeps pace Monday in Ludlow.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Brandon Vazquez of Amherst, second from right, moves the ball between Ludlow defenders Jordan Martins, left, and Jahbari Robinson Monday in Ludlow.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Brandon Vazquez of Amherst, second from right, moves the ball between Ludlow defenders Jordan Martins, left, and Jahbari Robinson Monday in Ludlow.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Brandon Vazquez of Amherst, front right, moves the ball against Ludlow Monday in Ludlow. Cody Baglow of Amherst is in the background.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Brandon Vazquez of Amherst, front right, moves the ball against Ludlow Monday in Ludlow. Cody Baglow of Amherst is in the background.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Brandon Vazquez of Amherst eyes the ball as Luke Woishnis of Ludlow tries to take an incoming pass on his knee Monday in Ludlow.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Brandon Vazquez of Amherst eyes the ball as Luke Woishnis of Ludlow tries to take an incoming pass on his knee Monday in Ludlow.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Brandon Vazquez, right, and the Amherst Regional boys soccer team beat West Springfield Friday 1-0 to advance to the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Tournament championship game.

    Brandon Vazquez, right, and the Amherst Regional boys soccer team beat West Springfield Friday 1-0 to advance to the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Tournament championship game. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mike Rock of Amherst, right, moves the ball beside Luke Woishnis of Ludlow Monday in Ludlow.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Mike Rock of Amherst, left, gets control of a pass beside Matthew Dent of Ludlow Monday in Ludlow.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Curtis Barnes of Amherst, left, prepares to make a save as teammate Jaimon Olmsted defends Jahbari Robinson of Ludlow Monday in Ludlow. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Jesse Welborn of Amherst, right, moves the ball as James Patterson of Ludlow keeps pace Monday in Ludlow.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Brandon Vazquez of Amherst, second from right, moves the ball between Ludlow defenders Jordan Martins, left, and Jahbari Robinson Monday in Ludlow.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Brandon Vazquez of Amherst, front right, moves the ball against Ludlow Monday in Ludlow. Cody Baglow of Amherst is in the background.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Brandon Vazquez of Amherst eyes the ball as Luke Woishnis of Ludlow tries to take an incoming pass on his knee Monday in Ludlow.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Brandon Vazquez, right, and the Amherst Regional boys soccer team beat West Springfield Friday 1-0 to advance to the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Tournament championship game.

LUDLOW — A crack of lightning ended the Amherst Regional boys soccer team’s night and officially extended its season.

After playing for nearly 45 minutes in a heavy downpour, the sky light up and the referees whistled the end of Monday night’s game against perennial powerhouse Ludlow with a 0-0 draw.

The Hurricanes (6-2-4, 1-2-2 Smith) clinched a spot in the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Tournament with the point.

“I’m pleased that now we can look forward and start preparing for the playoffs,” Amherst first-year coach Michael Rudd said. “We’ll be able to solidify a couple of different approaches to the game, depending on our opponent and depending on the situation. Now, we’ll have various ways to attack and defend and it gives us time to think about it and place players in position to be successful.”

The teams battled through declining conditions throughout the evening as the puddles expanded and the footing worsened with each passing minute.

“These kids are experienced,” Rudd said. “They know how to play in any whether. Frankly, soccer players don’t mind rain. It is wind that is the issue.”

Curtis Barnes made four saves for the team’s second shutout of the season. The defense played especially well early, led by senior defender Jaimon Olmstead, who consistently turned away Ludlow’s pressure in passing lanes.

Chris Ganhao made two saves for Ludlow (10-1-3, 3-0-2).

Amherst had a handful of good looks despite the conditions and shortened contest.

In the 23rd minute, Ian Robson beat a defender down the right side and sent a cross in front of the net, but Eric Gooden couldn’t quite get enough on his header attempt.

Eight minutes later, Brandon Vazquez beat a defender to the ball at the midfield and raced down the left side. His cross went into a scrum in front and the ball kicked to Noa Iimura up top from 25 yards out, but Iimura’s blast went just wide to the left.

In the closing minutes of the first half, Mike Rock beat a defender to a through ball, but was tripped up in the box just before he could get a solid foot on a shot.

Rudd was pleased with the play of his team, which was playing in its third game in six days, including twice against Ludlow, the defending state champion.

The Lions won at Amherst 2-1 on Oct. 9 and Amherst settled for a 2-2 tie at Westfield on Thursday.

“We had a rough week,” Rudd said. “The two games took something out of us and I’m very pleased with how we rebounded and came out ready to play. I liked our spacing. I liked the way we kept the ball, and I was happy.”

Jim Pignatiello can be reached at jpignatiello@gazettenet.com.

Follow the Gazette’s high school sports coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteHS and on Facebook at facebook.com/gazettehs.

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