Amherst girls celebrate girls Invitational championship

  • 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 10:08:49 PM

AMHERST — Karta Khalsa weighed her options in the pounding rain.

Amherst Regional’s girls ultimate team was tied with Four Rivers in the Amherst Invitational championship game Sunday. The next point would send the game to halftime regardless of who scored, so momentum hung suspended.

Hattie Carolan burst to the right side of the end zone, and Khalsa zipped her a sideline pass for a one-goal lead heading into halftime. It started an eight-goal run by the Hurricanes that clinched a 14-6 victory.

“We came out of half with so much energy. They came out of half with much less energy,” Amherst junior Rachel Oram-Brown said. “Once we got that train rolling, our energy just kept going up. The second half was a huge mental game. We kept feeding off each other.”

Oram-Brown and Khalsa played a major role in the run. They contributed to five of Amherst’s eight consecutive goals. Oram-Brown threw four scores in the second half, and Karta caught three of them, including the decisive 14th point to end the game.

“We’ve had a lot of years together on the team,” Oram-Brown said. “We know where each other will be.”

Once Karta landed with the disc in her possession and two feet down, she tossed it aside and ran to hug her teammates. It was Amherst’s first title since 2016 in its home tournament and 19th overall. The Hurricanes won eight in a row between 2009 and 2016.

“This was my sixth AI, I started in middle school, so I was like I better win this one, it’s my last one,” Amherst senior Sydney Zobel said. “It was beautiful.”

Zobel anchored Amherst’s defense and provided an outlet for the Hurricanes moving the disc up the field.

“She’s an amazing athlete with this huge arsenal of skills. When she can unleash like that, I think it comes from a place where she’s dialed in, can turn off her brain and just play,” Amherst coach Hannah Baranes said.

Though they finished the game with a flourish, Amherst needed time to settle into the game. The Hurricanes traded points with Four Rivers through the early going and trailed 2-1 on a throw from Xhhu Arfa to Anna Goldstein. They wrestled the lead back 5-4 on a beautiful long throw from Khalsa to Lisa Knapp and didn’t trail again.

“It says a lot about our team that we could play this super-tight first half, not let if faze us, then step up and roll,” Baranes said.

Entering the Amherst Invitational, the Hurricanes knew where their floor was. Winning the tournament showed them how high their ceiling still is.

“I think the whole team is so pumped that we get to keep working together,” Baranes said. “We can’t wait for states.”

The state championships are in two weeks in Northampton.

Northampton’s girls team fell in the tournament’s semifinals 13-4 against Four Rivers. The Blue Devils were scheduled to play Newton North in the third-place game, but both teams opted not to play because of the weather.

In the Division II tournament, Amherst’s junior varsity placed second, falling to the Four Rivers JV 13-8 in the final. Williston Northampton was fifth.


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