Northampton boys lacrosse defense stops Amherst charge

  • Tyler Allcroft, right, of Northampton, moves the ball against Brock King, of Amherst Regional, Tuesday in Amherst. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Henry Higgins, right, of Northampton, scores on Amherst Regional goalie John Cruz-Rodriguez, left, while defended by Kaleb Ferro, Tuesday in Amherst. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Willy Wright, right, of Amherst Regional, scores on Northampton, Tuesday in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Miles Foerster, left, of Amherst Regional, passes against Jameson Miller, of Northampton, Tuesday in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Liam Kelly, right, of Amherst Regional, moves the ball against Jameson Miller, of Northampton, Tuesday in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jasper Kesin, left, of Northampton, moves the ball against Willy Wright, of Amherst Regional, Tuesday in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Vance Cannella, right, of Amherst Regional, moves the ball against Jared Fowler, of Northampton, Tuesday in Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Sam Ohotnicky, left, of Northampton, eyes the ball after stripping Willy Wright, of Amherst Regional, of his stick Tuesday in Amherst. Northampton won 10-7. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Henry Attias, right, of Northampton, shoots against Dominic McDonald, of Amherst Regional, Tuesday in Amherst. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

For the Gazette
Published: 4/18/2017 11:03:28 PM

AMHERST — The Amherst Regional boys lacrosse team made a four-goal run in the third quarter, but Northampton’s stingy defense weathered the storm to give the Blue Devils a 10-7 victory Monday.

Northampton set the tone on defense at the beginning of the game with stiff body checks and well-placed stick checks by their defensemen and midfielders. The defense as a unit called out switches and shifts efficiently from the start and were on top of Amherst ballcarriers at every step, especially in the first half.

“The tone we want to set is one of physicality,” Northampton coach Matt Striebel said. “Since I have been here as coach we have really prided ourselves on how we play defense. It is the hallmark of what we try and do. (Sam Ohotnicky) set the tone with the matchup against Willy (Wright). They are two of the best players in western Massachusetts going at each other. I felt like Mike (McCarthy), Ryan Bredin and (goalie Ryan) Heng anchored that back line as well.”

Northampton (4-1) led 6-2 at halftime and seemed like it was about to pull away, taking a 9-3 lead midway through the third quarter.

Northampton’s Henry Higgins snuck behind the defense and put one away for the first goal of the third. Aidan Bass got one back for Amherst, but Henry Attias ripped a shot from roughly 30 feet out as Hamp led 8-3. Jameson Miller got in close to the cage and placed a shot near the right post for a 9-3 lead.

Right when the Amherst (1-4) sideline was at its most quiet, Wright scored two quick goals to give the team life. Bass and Luca LaRaja followed suit as the ‘Canes pulled within 9-7.

The serge reinvigorated the ‘Canes’ sideline. Amherst had all the momentum heading into the fourth quarter, but Northampton’s defense and communication down the stretch in the fourth quarter sealed the win.

“I knew they were going to have a run like that,” Striebel said. “I was pleased with the way we reacted coming out of the third quarter and into the fourth quarter. It’s a vacation week so I felt like we took breaks and we weren’t as ready as we needed to be in that third quarter. We had trouble picking the ball up off the ground and we struggled in the clearing game.”

Wright finished with three goals. LaRaja had two goals, while Declan Gray-Mullen had one assist. Connor Bowden had seven saves.

On the Northampton side, Attias (three goals, assist) scored the team’s first and last goals of the contest. Miller (assist) scored three of the team’s four goals between the end of the second quarter and the end of the third quarter and had an assist.

“I thought my teammates helped me get the ball coming straight out of the box,” Miller said. “My teammates also did a good job of giving me room to dodge and go hard into the cage.”

Evan Moulton added two assists.

Tyler Allcroft, who leads the team in goals with 16, added two goals of his own. Ryan Heng had eight saves.

Amherst coach Charlie Edwards believed that Northampton’s midfielders made them a tough opponent.

“They have three really good midfielders and they are a good outside shooting team,” Edwards said. “I was happy with how we defended their attackmen, but we knew their midfielders were their strength. They are a very well-balanced (midfielder) team across the board.”




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