2014 HS Northeasterns - Sunday Recap

Posted: May 11, 2014 10:53 PM

Masconoment earn hard-fought boy's division title; Amherst Hurricanes remain dominant, claim another Northeasterns title


Here in Maine, we had a long winter and late spring.  At 8:30 a.m. this morning, the teams in the girls' division were met with a perfect Maine day; sunny and 70 degrees, literally the best Maine day of the year thus far from a weather perspective.


Girls' Division (Schedule)       Boys' Division (Schedule)


The quarterfinals match-ups pitted #1 seed Amherst versus #7 seed Lexington, #3 seed Pioneer Valley Performing Arts (PVPA) versus #4 seed Amherst JV, #6 seed BFA Fairfax versus #10 Fryeburg Academy and #2 seed Watchung Hills versus #8 seed Pennsbury.


Amherst v. Lexington:

Tulsa Douglas and Erin O’Connor, both seniors for Amherst, paced the Hurricanes to a 2-0 lead when they connected on an isolation play at the front of the end zone. Amherst carries 16 girls and came into the tournament as the defending champions. On the ensuing point, Douglas came up with a hand block and caught another score from O’Connor to put them up 3-0. Amherst was using a suffocating four-person cup when on defense which Lexington was finding difficult, even with the Fooligals' Emil McCarter appearing all over the field getting multiple lay out Ds to earn them additional offensive opportunities. Valerie Wilocq was a cutting machine for Amherst dominating the middle of the field. Veteran leadership and the depth and skill of Amherst proved too much for Lexington in this quarterfinals matchup, resulting in a 13-1 Amherst win.


BFA Fairfax v. Fryeburg Academy:

I had yet to see BFA play before this round, but I had heard much about their fast-break offense, and when I arrived at the field, BFA was up 7-4 at half. The scorekeeper at the field reiterated what I had heard about the offense: they run a fast-break, short-yardage offense and never hold the disc for more than two seconds. Fryeburg kept themselves in the game by taking advantage of some their big throwers. BFA employed a 1-3-3 zone and moved it well across the field as a team. BFA only had 12 girls on the roster, and their fitness was impressive. CeLynn Simmons threw the bulk of their scores, but it was really a team effort, as a typical BFA point saw all seven girls touching the disc in their throw-and-go style of offense. They worked the disc up the field with quick, short passes then would strike for a 20-yard score. BFA pulled away for a 13-6 win.  


Watchung Hills v. Pennsbury:

Watchung Hills had an impressive Saturday, ending the day with a 4-0 record, and appeared to be one of the favorites coming into the day. When I arrived at their game, Pennsbury was up 8-3 coming out of the half. The point was not without contention as the girls from Watchung Hills felt the Pennsbury receiver had dropped the layout score before re-securing the disc. The score remained. As the girls got back to the sideline, the Watchung coach implored them to ratchet up the intensity; they appeared to be playing tight. Pennsbury was using an aggressive straight-up mark and playing very tight man D. On turnovers, they continually sent 50-50 shots deep that their athletes came down with. Hannah Natale and #26 did the majority of the heavy lifting from a handler perspective and helped them come away with the upset victory, 13-3.


Amherst JV v. Pioneer Valley Performing Arts:

This game got off to a slow start with a 25-minute first point. The teams traded points for the majority of the game, playing to the tightest first round match before Amherst finally pulled away at the end for an 8-6 win.


Girls' Semifinals:

Both the girls' semifinals were decided pretty early. BFA got out to a 6-0 lead over Pennsbury who had just pulled off the big upset of the quarters. Pennsbury seemed to be tired, and BFA hit them with their patented quick-strike offense. In speaking with BFA’s coach, their fast aggressive style of play isn’t by mistake.  They practice against boys’ teams, and if they do not throw the disc before three seconds has elapsed, they count it as a turnover in practice. BFA was able to wear down Pennsbury for the 13-3 win. Scout Donahue came up big for BFA, scoring nine or 10 of their goals.


The other semifinal pitted Amherst against Amherst JVA and ended in a 13-2 win for the varsity squad.  Rachel Musante and Anna Sterdahl did the majority of the leg work in this match up, setting up the championship game between Amherst and BFA.  On Saturday, Amherst had beaten BFA fairly easily.


Boys Quarterfinals:

The boys’ quarterfinals pitted #6 Masconomet versus #5 Hampton, #10 Westfield versus #1 Lexington, #3 Pennsbury versus #6 Amherst and #9 Middletown versus #2 Needham. The wind started to pick up in this round, leading to longer games.  

Masconomet jumped all over Hampton, racing out to a 9-2 lead.  Seven of their nine goals had come from Adam Grammer.  Masconomet played an athletic brand of ultimate, similar to Hampton's style - they made numerous big bids on both O and D before finally falling 13-5.  


Top-seeded Lexington found themselves in a battle with Westfield, but managed to take half 7-6. Tanner Johnson and Charlie Coburn were the leaders on the stat sheet in this game. Jack Venezia had a strong first half for Westfield to keep them in the game, but Lexington regrouped at halftime and ran off six straight points to pull off a 13-6 win.


Pennsbury jumped to a 7-2 lead over Amherst. Amherst fought back in the second half to take the first two points, but Pennsbury immediately answered to move ahead at 9-4 lead before claiming a 13-6 win.


The best match of the boys' first round was Needham versus Middletown. Needham jumped out to a 7-4 halftime lead, but in the second half, Middletown ripped off three scores in a row to tie it up at sevens. Both teams were very tall and athletic and pushing hard for the win. The teams traded points in the second half, and with Needham down 11-10, playing against a zone, they caught a deflected disc that Middletown had D’d to tie the score at 11-11, forcing double-game point. Needham pulled to Middletown, and there were multiple turns and Ds as the wind picked up before Needham finally broke for the win. Brendan Chambers was grabbing 50-50 discs deep down the field all game long for Needham and had a Callahan in the match. Dan Goldstein provided steady handling and threw the winning score. For Middletown, Dario Highsmith and Naim Edens were making plays all over the field. Despite the very tightly contested game, both teams also came away with spirit scores of five. 


Boys' Semifinals:

Pennsbury matched up with #1 seed Lexington in one of the two boys’ semifinals matchups. Lexington got off to a 3-2 start, thanks to three assists from Tannor Johnson.  The first half included a lot of calls. On one such point, after multiple calls, Pennsbury broke to pull to 6-5 and got another break on the ensuing point to tie score at 6-6 when Pat Ward hit Jake Dolye in the end zone. Lexington took half 7-6 with yet another assist from Tannor Johnson when he found Jack Deschler. As a team, Pennsbury determined that they had not played with a high level of spirit in the first half and chose to pull to open the second half, despite having pulled to Lexington to open the game. Johnson had been a force for Lexington all weekend, putting up big throws and running down long puts, and nothing had changed in the first half of this game. In the second half, Pennsbury decided to employ a box and one on Johnson.  Pennsbury's Cole Drummond pulled the assignment of covering Johnson man to man while the rest of the team played zone around them. The strategy threw off Lexington’s offense, and Pennsbury ran off three consecutive points to pull of a 13-10 victory and knock off the overall top seed. 


In the other semifinal match up,  Masconomet squared off against Needham. Masconomet ran the majority of their offense through Willie Stewart and Adam Grammer; so much so that Stewart had eight assists in the semis, all to Grammer.  Grammer took it a step further. He was involved in scoring 12 of Masconomet’s 13 points. On defense, Masconomet employed an aggressive front-and-switch strategy that helped slow down Needham’s offense and earned them the half at 7-5. Needham came out of half and got a break to pull to 7-6, but Masconomet responded, again with a Stewart to Grammer score to put Masconomet up 8-6. Needham switched up their strategy and started forcing backhand to take away Stewart’s big flick. But Stewart still found Grammar in the end zone from 10 yards out with his backhand to give his team a 9-6 lead.  Needham answered back with a very patient ,controlled offense to pull to 9-7. After the teams traded points, Stewart and Grammer hooked up once again on a long score to push Masconomet to a 12-10 lead and game point.  Needham answered with a nice score from Jeff Schindler to Matt Caswell, but appropriately, once again Stewart found Grammer for the 13-11 game winner and set up a finals match up between Pennsbury from Pennsylvania and Masconomet from Massachusetts.


Girls' Finals:

The top-seeded Amherst Hurricanes had only given up four points to an opposing team all weekend. They matched up against the eighth-seeded BFA Fairfax who traveled to the tournament from Vermont with only 12 girls. Amherst pulled to start the game and got three breaks in a row to get out to a 3-0 lead. Rachel Peatman hit Scout Donahue, who was scoring machine all weekend, for BFA’s first goal. But despite the goal, Amherst went on to take half 7-1. Amherst has a deep athletic team which was powered by Tulsa Douglas and Erin O’Connor all weekend. Rachel Musante was also a force for the Hurricanes in the final. BFA was the talk of the tournament with their quick-decision offense; they did a great job breaking seed from #8 to finish second. Katelyn Whitaker had three Ds in the finals, Adi Toof was a strong performer for BFA throughout the tournament, and the Donahue's tireless cutting and work as their main receiver was key all weekend. In the end, the advanced skills and depth of the Amherst Hurricanes was too much to overcome as they went undefeated on the weekend and took home yet another Northeasterns title.


Boys' Finals:

Masconomet and Pennsbury were in the same pool on Saturday, and as the overall six seed, Masconomet managed to upset the third-seeded Pennsbury to win the pool. Pennsbury pulled to Masconomet and quickly found themselves down 2-1. Pennsbury answered to tie the game at 2-2, and the teams continued to trade points to 5-5 after Pennsbury cleaned up their unforced errors against the Masconomet. Adam Grammer was a force yet again, making an incredible one-handed grab on the assist from Willie Stewart to give Masconomet the 6-5 lead. The Massachusetts squad then broke to take the 7-5 lead on an assist from Stewart to Dylan Zernich. Coming out of half, Masconomet forced a turnover and converted to take an 8-5 lead. Pennsbury pulled the score back to 8-7 before finding themselves down 10-7, game to 13. Stewart found Grammer yet again on an inside-out flick to take an 11-7 lead.  Masconomet was starting to taste the title, but Pennsbury was not ready to go quietly into the night. Pat Ward threw a few scores, culminating in a big hammer to Christian Duess to pull the Falcons back in the game, 11-10. On the ensuing point, Stewart threw a high and floaty backhand into triple coverage which Grammer somehow ripped out of the sky for the 12-10 lead, putting his team one point away from the title. On game point, Steve Heintzelman got a D close to the goal line and Grammer found Zeinrich for the winning score. It was a hard-fought match and well played on both sides.


The award ceremony was well attended, with team spirit awards going to Cape Elizabeth in the girls' division and Needham in the boys' division. The individual spirit award winners were also recognized, to great applause from their peers, coaches and the volunteers. It was a beautiful weekend for high school ultimate, and the ceremony culminated in the announcement that Northeasterns 2015 will bring everyone back to Maine!



Photos by UltiPhotos 

Boys' Division (Highlights)

Girls' Division (Highlights)


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