2017 Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament: Hurricanes boys finish second, girls tie for third with Northampton

  • Amherst Regional's Ben Goldman, left, and Ryan Dinger react after losing to Westfield May 14, 2017 in the Division 1 boys final game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Scott Goldman, a teammate's parent, hugs Amherst Regional's Ryan Dinger after the team lost to Westfield May 14, 2017 in the Division 1 boys final game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Amherst Regional's Ryan Dinger, left, and Ben Goldman comfort each other after losing to Westfield May 14, 2017 in the Division 1 boys final game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Amherst Regional players and coaches comfort each other after losing to Westfield May 14, 2017 in the Division 1 boys final game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Amherst Regional's Ben Goldman, left, Harry Wolff Landau and Ryan Dinger cry after losing to Westfield May 14, 2017 in the Division 1 boys final game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Amherst Regional's Ryan Dinger, right, passes under pressure from Westfield's Matt Stravach May 14, 2017 during the Division 1 boys final game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Westfield's Cole Feltman is escorted off the field after breaking his arm while playing against Amherst Regional May 14, 2017 in the Division 1 boys final game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Westfield's Cole Feltman exits the field after breaking his arm while playing against Amherst Regional May 14, 2017 in the Division 1 boys final game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Amherst Regional's Sam Hare Steig catches the frisbee May 14, 2017 during the Division 1 boys final game against Westfield of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Amherst Regional's Caleb Seamon, who sat out the game due to injury, encourages his teammates May 14, 2017 during the Division 1 boys final game against Westfield of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Amherst Regional's Ryan Dinger, left, jumps to control the frisbee against Westfield's Jacob Davis May 14, 2017 during the Division 1 boys final game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Westfield's Patrick Chirichella, left, passes the frisbee under pressure from Amherst Regional's Orion Cable May 14, 2017 during the Division 1 boys final game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Amherst Regional's Harry Wolff Landau, right, catches the frisbee under pressure from Westfield's Jack Liebling May 14, 2017 during the Division 1 boys final game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Amherst Regional's Ben Goldman, right, looks to pass the frisbee under pressure from Westfield's Chris Ng May 14, 2017 during the Division 1 boys final game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Amherst Regional's James Cairn, right, looks to pass the frisbee under pressure from Westfield's Chris Ng May 14, 2017 during the Division 1 boys final game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Amherst Regional's Ryan Dinger, center, jumps to catch the frisbee under pressure from Westfield May 14, 2017 during the Division 1 boys final game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Amherst Regional's Ben Goldman, right, passes under pressure from Westfield's Chris Ng May 14, 2017 during the Division 1 boys final game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at Amherst Regional High School. Amherst's James Cairn looks on, at back right.

  • Amherst Regional's Sophia Cable, center, huddles with teammates and Paideia players May 14, 2017 following the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

  • Amherst Regional players including Aviva Weinbaum, center, congratulate Paideia players on their win May 14, 2017 following the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

  • Amherst Regional's Leija Helling, front, passes under pressure from Paideia's Katherine Jordak May 14, 2017 during the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

  • Amherst Regional's Leija Helling, left, defends against Paideia's Sierra Petrash May 14, 2017 during the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

  • Amherst Regional's Augusta Fricke dives for the frisbee but misses under pressure from Paideia May 14, 2017 during the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

  • Amherst Regional's Dana Hopkins McGill, left, passes under pressure from Paideia's Emma Jones May 14, 2017 during the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

  • Amherst Regional's Augusta Fricke, center, looks to pass the frisbee under pressure from Paideia's Kaya Wurtzel and Sierra Petrash May 14, 2017 during the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

  • Amherst Regional players including Augusta Fricke, second from left, Sophia Cable and Aviva Weinbaum congratulate each other after scoring against Paideia May 14, 2017 during the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

  • Paideia's Lucy Seward, left, Amherst Regional's Manali Rege-Colt, Paideia's Sarah Jordak and Amherst Regional's Rachel Oram-Brown jump to control the frisbee May 14, 2017 during the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

  • Amherst Regional's Shira Yeskel-Mednick, left, and Paideia's Josie Veal stretch to control the frisbee May 14, 2017 during the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

  • Amherst Regional's Aviva Weinbaum, right, defends against Paideia's Hannah Neiditz May 14, 2017 during the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

  • Amherst Regional players including Libby Knapp, right, congratulate each other after scoring against Paideia May 14, 2017 during the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

  • Amherst Regional's Sophia Cable, right, passes under pressure from Paideia's Ali Beskind May 14, 2017 during the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

  • Amherst Regional's Leija Helling, left, looks to pass under pressure from Paideia's Hannah Neiditz May 14, 2017 during the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

  • Paideia's Ali Beskind, second from left, and Amherst Regional's Sophia Cable and Augusta Fricke try to gain control of the frisbee May 14, 2017 during the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

  • Paideia's Sarah Jordak, left, captures a pass that Amherst Regional's Rachel Oram-Brown went for May 14, 2017 during the Divison 1 girls semifinal game of the 26th annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament at the Oxbow in Northampton.

For the Gazette
Published: 5/14/2017 8:32:09 PM

AMHERT — Westfield, New Jersey, defeated top-seeded Amherst Regional, 12-11, on Sunday afternoon in the 26th-annual Amherst Ultimate Invitational Tournament title game.

It was the first time Westfield won the tournament, and it became just the seventh team to win the boys division. Amherst previously defeated Westfield, 13-10, in a preliminary round Saturday.

In the championship game, Westfield came out with a zone defense that was difficult to break. The first few points in the championship went back and forth, and neither team built a lead of more than one point. Westfield took a 6-4 lead and went into halftime up 8-6.

Coming out of halftime, Westfield padded its lead to 11-7. Amherst surged back, scoring four straight points to tie the game at 11.

Westfield went on to win the game on universe point. A universe point occurs when two teams are tied in the final moments of the game, and the team that scores the next point is the winner.

Amherst coach Joe Costello said that Westfield had a complicated defensive strategy.

“We’ve had trouble with that all season, but we also had a plan and it wasn’t just that zone,” Costello said. “It was that they were switching what they did defensively a lot, and it just put a lot of pressure on us to match the switch with the offensive system that we needed.”

Amherst has 15 seniors on the roster, and after the emotional final game of the tournament, Costello had high praise for the graduating class playing its final Amherst Invitational.

“They’re amazing, they’ve put in so much energy and love into this program for a really long time, and I’m really proud of them for putting themselves out there like that and getting their hearts broken,” he said. “I think you don’t get your heart broken if you don’t really love what you do and I’m really proud that we have so many players that really love what they do.”

Amherst girls streak ends

For just the third time since girls ultimate was added to the Amherst Invitational in 1997, the Amherst girls varsity team did not appear in the championship game. The Hurricanes had won the tournament eight straight times and every year except for 2017, 2008 and 1997.

Amherst lost to the Paideia School (Georgia) in a low-scoring 8-4 semifinal in cold and windy conditions Sunday at the Oxbow in Northampton.

Paideia jumped out to a 5-0 lead at halftime. In the second half, Amherst picked up four points, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback.

“When you bring 12 new players onto a team they get to build it themselves from the ground up,” first-year Amherst coach Hannah Baranes said. “The kind of growth and identity formation is like nothing else I’ve ever seen and it’s been so satisfying.”

It didn’t take long for Baranes to win over the respect of her new players.

“Hannah’s incredible. I’ve never had a female head coach, and she’s not just any female head coach, she’s an incredible, amazing ultimate player, it’s so inspirational,” Amherst senior co-captain Manali Rege-Colt said.

Fellow co-captain and senior Shira Yeskel-Mednick added, “We started from a place where we were a bunch of pieces, and as we’ve been coming together over the course of the season we’ve just ramped up.”

Northampton reached the semifinals and fell to HB Woodlawn Secondary Program (Virginia) 9-7 on Sunday.

The Blue Devils would have finished either in third or fourth place if they had played their consolation game against Amherst, but the two teams opted not to play.

Claire Babbot-Bryan threw 15 assists and grabbed one interception in an opponent’s endzone, also called a Callahan.

Olivia Pruett dished out 15 assists, and Lili Lieberman-Bachman scored nine times.


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