Firehawk Girls Volleyball defeats LA Adventist in home opener at JCC

SET: Girls Voleyball spiked their way to a victory against LA Adventist on October 6th

Ezra Fax

SET: Girls Voleyball spiked their way to a victory against LA Adventist on October 6th

By Mati Hurwitz, Sports Editor

With nearly the whole school in attendance, the Lady Firehawks Volleyball Team defeated its league rival LA Adventist Eagles 2-1 on Monday Oct. 6.

The game was scheduled to start at 3 p.m., so about 100 students and faculty packed into the JCC gym after Mincha. About 30 stayed through Period G, to watch the Lady Firehawks, led by second-year coach Mike Sweet, serve up a storm.

Usually, the winner of a volleyball match has to win three out of five sets. However, LA Adventist arrived to the game late and due to reserved gym time the match was called after three sets. In the most competitive game of the day, the Lady Eagles edged Shalhevet 25-22 in what was a tight game throughout its entirety – neither team leading by more than three points. Despite the Lady Eagles rally, the Firehawks were rewarded the victory after that set.

No matter what the circumstances of the game were, Shalhevet played together and communicated well in order to pick up its second victory of the season, improving its overall mark to 2-1.

“We talk on the court, we say ‘yours,’” said senior co-captain Rachel Glouberman. “We know who’s the setter, who’s spiking before the play.”

That seemed like the case on Monday. Aligned with three girls in the front, three in the back, the Lady Firehawks perfected the bump-set-spike strategy, with Rachel and freshman Naomi Bijou powering the ball over the net.

“We talked a lot on the court and got into a good rhythm,” said senior Margo Feuer, the other team captain. “We had a lot of key players calling out who was getting the ball, who was hitting where and when.”

That execution was a vital part of the Shalhevet victory because LA Adventist looked erratic at times, strictly bumping the volleyball while never converting a spike and rarely setting the ball.

The Lady Firehawks came out of the gates relentlessly, diving out of bounds and on the floor for balls and getting their hands loftily above the net. Neither team seemed to get a rhythm serving the ball, as no single player had more than three consecutive serves with LA Adventist struggling to put on a rally.

Although the Lady Eagles competed in the first game, blazingly fast serves by junior Shirin Netaneli and a Rachel Glouberman game-clinching spike elevated Shalhevet to a 25-17 first set win. Rabbi Segal and Reb Noam could be heard cheering loudly the whole game.

After their Game 1 victory, about half of the Shalhevet crowd went back to class, impressed with the girls’ gameplay.

However, the team wasn’t satisfied with its initial performance.

“From the first game, we learned that we had to play at a level,” said Rachel. In Game 2, she said, the team focused on volleyball fundamentals, which contributed to a 25-8 blowout.

Shalhevet servers dominated the second game, and the entire team erupted in a synchronized “ace” celebration after a serve would not be returned. Deadlocked at 4-4, junior Sariel Elkaim started a five-point streak. Next, Margo bolstered the lead to 16-5 on a six point rally.

Junior Natacha Chowaiki added four more on her turn to serve as the Lady Firehawks took the second set by 17 points.

The two games proved to be enough to win the match as the game was cut short because of time.

“They showed up more than 45 minutes late to the game,” said Athletic Director Eli Schiff. “We didn’t have the gym anymore.”