Amherst boys claim second straight Invitational title

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  • Amherst junior Sophie Acker, right, waits for a shovel pass from senior Grace Spalding-Fecher, foreground left, out of the reach of Northampton defenders senior Mary Andrews, left, and junior Mary Greene in the first half of the 'Canes' 13-5 win over the Blue Devils in an Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament Division 1 match held at Community Field on Saturday, May 11, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst senior Libby Knapp, left, forehands a pass around pressure by Northampton sophomore Kerrigan Mauer in the first half of the 'Canes' 13-5 win over the Blue Devils in an Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament Division 1 match held at Community Field on Saturday, May 11, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton senior Harper Brooks-Kahn, right, threads a pass through defense by Amherst senior Pearl Tulay in the first half of the Blue Devils' 13-5 loss to the 'Canes in an Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament Division 1 match held at Community Field on Saturday, May 11, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton senior Rachel Levitt, right, passes under pressure from Amherst sophomore Jana Murphy in the first half of the Blue Devils' 13-5 loss to the 'Canes in an Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament Division 1 match held at Community Field on Saturday, May 11, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst senior Sydney Zobel, left, gets a pass by Northampton senior Harper Brooks-Kahn in the first half of the 'Canes' 13-5 win over the Blue Devils in an Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament Division 1 match held at Community Field on Saturday, May 11, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Lucia Dostal, left, still clutching the disc from her score, hugs fellow Northampton junior Mary Greene after Greene intercepted an Amherst pass, stalled long enough for Dostal to hustle into the endzone, then connected with her for the Blue Devils' fourth point just before the break. Northampton scored just once more and fell to the Hurricanes', 13-5, in their Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament Division 1 match held at Community Field on Saturday, May 11, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst senior Andrew Zhu leaps for a catch between Marshall Lian, left, and Josh Jones of Radnor in the second half of the 'Canes' 13-2 win over the Raiders in an Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament Division 1 match held at the MacDuffie School on Saturday, May 11, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst junior Jesse Barker-Plotkin, left, passes under Radnor defender Sean Seibel in the second half of the 'Canes' 13-2 win over the Raiders in an Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament Division 1 match held at the MacDuffie School on Saturday, May 11, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst sophomore Owen Young, right, launches a pass in front of Radnor defender Marshall Lian in the second half of the 'Canes' 13-2 win over the Raiders in an Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament Division 1 match held at the MacDuffie School on Saturday, May 11, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst senior Cole Davis-Brand, center, celebrates the Hurricanes' tenth point, a pass from Mason Alschuler to Sam Green, in a 13-2 win over Radnor in their Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament Division 1 match held at the MacDuffie School on Saturday, May 11, 2019. Jesse Barker-Plotkin is at left, Tim Demling at right. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst junior Bryan Dole pulls down a throw to score the Hurricanes' eighth point of their 13-2 win over Radnor in an Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament Division 1 match held at the MacDuffie School on Saturday, May 11, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst sophomore Zack Watson-Stevens, right, pulls in the Hurricanes' 12th point in front of Radnor defender Marshall Lian in the 'Canes' 13-2 win over the Raiders in an Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament Division 1 match held at the MacDuffie School on Saturday, May 11, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst sophomore Owen Young, left, passes under Radnor defender Marshall Lian in the second half of the 'Canes' 13-2 win over the Raiders in an Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament Division 1 match held at the MacDuffie School on Saturday, May 11, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Radnor senior Josh Jones, left, defends Amherst junior Jesse Barker-Plotkin in the second half of the Raiders' 13-2 loss to the Hurricanes in an Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament Division 1 match held at the MacDuffie School on Saturday, May 11, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 5/12/2019 9:59:35 PM

AMHERST — Wyatt Kellman locked eyes with Zack Watson-Stevens late in Sunday’s Amherst Ultimate Invitational championship game.

Watson-Stevens knew what that meant and went deep against Columbia (New Jersey). Kellman lofted him a pass in the back of the end zone, and Watson-Stevens, a sophomore, outmuscled a defender for the disc, securing it with one hand.

“I got into a power position, I saw he had space and just ripped it,” Kellman said. “He came down with an amazing play.”

Amherst’s sideline erupted once the score was confirmed. It ultimately proved the game-winner for the Hurricanes in an 11-9 victory.

“It’s his first year on varsity, he’s been improving a lot throughout the season and he’s been taking on a heavy workload for us,” Amherst Regional coach Joe Costello said. “Everybody is super supportive of him because they known how much he’s improved over the last eight weeks.”

Watson-Stevens’ goal put Amherst up 11-8 and occurred just before the hard time cap, set 90 minutes after the game began. Once the hard cap is hit, the next goal ends the game regardless of who scores. Columbia added a goal to seal its end and the tournament title for the Hurricanes.

Amherst won its home invitational for the second year in a row. The Hurricanes also avenged their only defeat of the year against high school competition. Columbia topped Amherst 9-8 in the Paideia Cup final a few weeks ago. Though the Hurricanes tried not to focus on the revenge aspect before the game, it added to the celebration.

“Yes, it feels very good (to beat Columbia),” Kellman said.

Amherst started the title game strong. The Hurricanes took a 2-0 lead and never fell behind, only tying Columbia afterward.

“Ultimate’s a long sport with a lot of momentum swings, so for us to come out with a big lead like that gives us a good cushion to work off,” Kellman said.

The Hurricanes maintained their lead by adhering to their systems. Columbia frustrated them with their zone defense at the Paideia Cup, but Amherst stayed patient, working the disc from side to side and seizing openings.

“I think we came out with consistent energy. It shows that we’re moving forward, that we’re still growing,” Costello said. “From the last time we played them to now we’ve been practicing strategies that we hadn’t quite learned this season. We executed them today.”

Amherst took the lead for good 6-5 on a long, precise throw from Kellman to Orion Cable. Cable, who played on the Team USA Under-20 squad that won the world championship last year, was a constant presence all over the field for Amherst. He shifted from a free safety defensively, swatting down long throws, to Amherst’s best deep threat able to make contested catches and a dangerous handler and facilitator.

“When he’s back there, we have a lot of trust,” Costello said. “Everyone plays better when they know what everyone else is going to do on the team.”

The Hurricanes went 6-0 over the weekend, winning both tight contests and blowouts to secure the title for the 16th time.

“This is an amazing community event that we get to run and it becomes our thing. For all these people to come out supporting us, and to win in front of them, especially with the girls winning too, it’s an amazing feeling that we look forward to every year,” Kellman said.

Amherst’s junior varsity team placed eighth in the boys Division I field.

Frontier Regional placed second in the Division II bracket, losing the final 12-7 to Northfield Mount Hermon.

Amherst’s JVB team was sixth, while Amherst Middle School finished seventh. Pioneer Valley Performing Arts took eighth




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