Hawks soar, defeating YULA in soccer match-up

Deanna Grunfeld, Staff Writer

On a brightly lit outdoor soccer field in Glendale, the Shalhevet Firehawks finally accomplished what they hadn’t in two years: they defeated the rival YULA Panthers, narrowly sliding by with a 2-1 margin Saturday, Feb. 6 at the Glendale Sports Arena No. 4.

The competition seemed to be perfectly set with a 0-0 tie that lasted into the second half. However, this stalemate ended when Junior Shmulek Sabo scored the match’s first goal right in front of the Shalhevet fans.

“It was amazing to see Shalhevet at last beat YULA,” sophomore Adam Sharabi exclaimed after the meet. “You can tell that they had tried extremely hard and we finally got our victorious ending.”

After the loud cheers from the team and audience died down, senior and captain Daniel Goltzer found an opportunity to give the Firehawks a cushion.

He retrieved the ball and raced past two opposing players coming towards him. With a sharp turn, he shot the ball into the goal, setting the match at 2-0. The Firehawk supporters seemed as if they had never been happier.

Both fan sections took every opportunity to yell and shout for their team in the always highly anticipated yearly matchup.  About 100 fans packed the audience, even though the venue was far for many.

“We worked really hard as a team,” Junior and forward player Idor Edry said.  “We created a good squad and began winning games. Improving so much from last year really shows how our efforts paid off.”

After much celebration from the Shalhevet side, YULA mounted their best attempt at a comeback. Star player David Danesh netted their first and only goal. A cheer broke out from Panther fans, but that would be the only time they scratched.

This defensive effort was backed by Emilio Lari, the Firehawks’ goalie who blocked virtually every shot that came his way.

“Emilio really helps keep the team together, and saves our behinds more times than I can count,” Junior and forward player Shimmy Weinbach exclaimed.  “He truly is the essence of a great soccer player. He is the best goalie a team can ask for.”

As the buzzer rang, Shalhevet fans went crazy. The entire team and all the fans rushed onto the field chanting the song ‘Dovid Melech Yisrael’. The team then lifted Goltzer and Emilio onto their shoulders, signifying how much their team appreciated the stars’ contributions to the game.

“It’s been a dream to be captain of this team,” Goltzer said. “It was great being in charge of such a united and driven team.”

The team’s season ended about two weeks after the rivalry-game on February 18 when Victor Valley Christian handed the Firehawks a 2-1 loss in the first round of their play-offs.