Boys ultimate: Amherst displays pedigree in dominant win over Northampton

By KYLE GRABOWSKI

@kylegrbwsk

Published: 05-02-2017 11:54 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Not all rebellions succeed.

The Northampton boys ultimate team has framed its clashes with Amherst Regional as battling an evil empire for the past few years. The Blue Devils felt they were close to achieving that goal after leading the Hurricanes at halftime in last season’s state tournament title game.

Northampton still has some catching up to do.

Amherst showed its oppressive might in a 15-1 victory at Northampton on Tuesday.

The Hurricanes scored the winning point on a short pass from Nick Auerbach to Peter Treyz with 32 minutes, 5 seconds left on the clock. Ultimate matches are played to 15 with a 90-minute running clock. If neither team reaches 15, the leader when the clock expires wins.

Amherst made the clock a nonfactor early, opening the game on a 9-0 run in 38:39. The Hurricanes scored 39 seconds into the game on a short pass from Ben Tan to Ryan Dinger after forcing a turnover.

“The name ‘Amherst’ for a lot of players is a little intimidating because they’re such a powerhouse,” Northampton senior Ezra Norris said. “Once they scored on us a couple times, our energy level dropped pretty quickly.”

James Cairn put Amherst up 4-0 with 80:44 left when he caught a 45-yard floating pass from Zach Riley over his shoulder.

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“If you’re thinking about it, you’re about to make a mistake,” Cairn said. “You try to just focus on the Frisbee and not think too much.”

Northampton took a timeout after Amherst led 5-0 on a pass from Dinger to Orion Cable.

“We underperformed tonight, maybe a combination of the wind with a little bit of lack of focus,” Northampton coach Jeremiah Berlin said. “But we had some great moments, too. We adjusted to their unconventional defense and made some great plays.”

Northampton had its longest sustained possession in the first half down 7-0 with 65:34 left, methodically moving up the field with short passes. Amherst capitalized on a turnover to make it 8-0 with a long strike from Liam O’Connor to Noah Zobel with 65:17 left that forced halftime.

The Hurricanes made a point of attacking quickly after turnovers to take advantage of a scrambling Northampton defense throughout the game.

“We’ve been working on that since the beginning of the season, transitioning from defense to offense and offense to defense,” Amherst coach Joe Costello said. “It makes a big difference.”

Northampton scored its only goal after turning Amherst over near the end zone. Norris found a streaking Rory Milsark on a curl route where he beat the Amherst defender up the field with 52:11 left.

“We just had really good movement. People were not forcing anything,” Norris said. “We took as many throws as we could to work it all the way up the field to score.”

Amherst closed the game out with six goals in the next 20:06. Cable, who had four goals and an assist, put the 14th point on the board by intercepting Northampton in its own end zone.

“He wasn’t really moving, so I just stepped in front of him,” Cable said.

Despite the score, Costello felt the Blue Devils exposed some of Amherst’s weaknesses that the Hurricanes can work on in the next couple weeks before the Amherst Invitational on May 13-14.

“We’re still learning,” he said. “We left Atlanta (after finishing second in the Paideia Cup) with a pretty good measuring stick of what we needed to work on.”

Northampton is still measuring itself against the Hurricanes despite only returning six players from last year’s team.

“I take away a benchmark for excellence, something for us to aspire to,” Berlin said. “I want to push our boys to the next level.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.

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