Amherst boys, girls ultimate teams sweep home invitational
Caroline Jones of Amherst throws the disc in a game against Lower Merion during the Amherst Invitational Saturday in Amherst. Purchase photo reprints »
Mei Reffsin of Amherst works on getting the disc around Olivia Benditt in a game against Lower Merion during the Amherst Invitational Saturday in Amherst. Purchase photo reprints »
Johann Becker of Amherst beats Gilad Seckler to the disc during a game against Newton North at the Amherst Invitational Saturday in Amherst. Purchase photo reprints »
Tim Bobrowski of Amherst during a game against Newton North at the Amherst Invitationals Saturday in Amherst. Purchase photo reprints »
David Julien of Amherst catches the Frisbee and scores during a game against Newton North at the Amherst Invitationals Saturday in Amherst. Purchase photo reprints »
Solomon McMahnn of Amherst gets the Frisbee around Eli Schwamm during a game against Newton North at the Amherst Invitationals Saturday in Amherst. Purchase photo reprints »
Caroline Jones of Amherst gets the Frisbee to #19 Zoe Freedman Coleman, of Amherst in a game against Lower Merion during the Amherst Invitationals Saturday in Amherst. Purchase photo reprints »
#8, Angela Zhu of Amherst works on getting the Frisbee around Olivia Benditt in a game against Lower Merion during the Amherst Invitationals Saturday in Amherst. Purchase photo reprints »
Josh Nugent, varsity girls coach talks to the players after winning against Lower Merion during the Amherst Invitationals in Amherst Saturday. Purchase photo reprints »
Caroline Jones of Amherst gets the Frisbee to in a game against Seattle Southend during the Amherst Invitationals Saturday in Amherst. Purchase photo reprints »
Ezra Orlinsky of Amherst catches the Frisbee and scores while #49 Gabe Adler-Cohen of Newton North try's to stop him during the Amherst Invitationals Saturday in Amherst. Purchase photo reprints »
Ultimate Frisbee is among the summer sports offerings in Amherst.
CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »
AMHERST — With over two dozen teams from across the country in town for the 22nd annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational, Amherst Regional once again flexed its muscles in front of some talented competition this weekend.
The Hurricanes boys and girls ultimate teams won tournament titles Sunday before a crowd of several hundred people at the annual showcase event. The Amherst boys defeated Lexington 15-10 in the Open A Division final and the girls took care of Lower Merion from Pennsylvania 15-5 in the G Division final.
Sunday’s win was a return to form for the boys team, which has now won three of the last four invitationals after losing the 2012 final to a Seattle-based all-star team that did not return to defend its title this year.
“It feels great,” said Tiina Booth, the Hurricanes’ boys coach and tournament founder. “But as a coach, I would’ve liked to have seen more of a complete game in the finals.”
Though Amherst excelled across the board, Booth singled out senior captains Johann Becker (four goals, two assists) and Tim Bobrowski (one goal, two assists) for their outstanding play on both offense and defense in the team’s seven tournament wins during the weekend.
“I’ve been playing for Amherst since I was in middle school, so this is my fifth Amherst Invitational,” Bobrowski said. “And it means a lot to finally be a big part of the team. It was a real team effort.”
Bobrowski said facing off with a number of players he knew on the other teams from camps and the Hurricanes’ past experience on the ultimate tournament circuit added to the excitement of the win.
“It’s cool to play against your friends, but at the same time, it’s great competition,” he added. “So, it’s really just fun more than anything.”
Senior Jake Light and junior Leland Rege-Colt each added three goals, with Light scoring the game-ender in both the final and semifinal.
With the Hurricanes leading 11-4 in the second half of the championship game, Booth said her players grew a little complacent and overconfident, leading to a 4-0 Lexington run to close the deficit and extend the game.
She hopes the team will learn from that experience heading into the Northeastern Regional Championships in Devens starting Saturday.
“We’ve got Northeasterns next weekend — that’s really our big, big event,” Booth said. “And our dips we had in our performance will cause them to work really hard in practice this week.”
Fifth straight for girls
The Amherst girls left no doubt who was the best team as they cruised to their fifth consecutive invitational title.
Led by five goals apiece from senior captain Zoe Freedman Coleman and junior Tulsa Douglas, the Hurricanes jumped out to an 8-2 halftime lead over Lower Merion and never let up.
Coleman “did a great job of shutting down opponents and getting open on cuts,” Amherst girls coach Josh Nugent said.
Senior captain Angela Zhu, described by Nugent as “the core of the team,” added three goals and a team-high seven assists.
Nugent said having played and beaten the Aces 15-8 in a hard-fought, grind-it-out game in pool play Saturday helped his team make adjustments going into the final.
“We changed our defense a little bit in this game, and that was effective for us,” he said. “Offensively, even from (Saturday) to (Sunday), we knew what they were going to throw at us, so we were ready for it and we executed better today.”
With passing made more easy by Sunday’s lack of sustained winds, the Hurricanes “were able to cruise through their zone defense pretty easily,” Nugent added.
Coleman’s return from injury in time for the invitational was a much-needed boost for a depleted Amherst girls team that fields only 13 players and has only three returning starters from 2012. And Nugent said the tournament experience for the Hurricanes’ younger players will be helpful going into Northeastern Regionals.
Playing the invitational on their home field was a perfect situation to get ready for that next challenge, he added.
“This is our turf and we definitely don’t want to get beat on our home turf,” Nugent said. “And all of our friends and family are watching, so the girls get really pumped up and we come out really intense, especially on Sunday.”