Girls’ Soccer defeats YULA to end season

GOAL: Sophomore Dorelle Nahmany dribbles past the Lady Panthers’ defense towards victory.

GOAL: Sophomore Dorelle Nahmany dribbles past the Lady Panthers’ defense towards victory.

By Mati Hurwitz, Sports Editor

The Lady Firehawks Soccer Team defeated archrival YULA 1-0 before hundreds of students, parents and staffers from both sides who flooded the sideline of Crossroads High School on a chilly Saturday night Feb. 15.

The vibrant atmosphere created a bloodthirsty, competitive environment. The boys’ team had endured a crushing defeat 7-1 by YULA two weeks prior to the girls’ vengeful victory, while the girls had opened up the year with a series of lopsided defeats, including a crushing 23-0 loss to Animo Leadership.

But in their season finale, senior Liat Menna’s early first-half goal zipped past YULA goalie Tzipporah Mayesh and was ultimately the decisive score. Coach Lee Turnbull guided the Lady Firehawks to victory from the sideline, while being propped on crutches due to a leg injury.

YULA had ample opportunities to tie the game in the second half, but was thwarted by a stifling defense highlighted by sophomores Shirin Netaneli striking up the sidelines and goalie Avivah Paskowitz keeping the ball out of the goal.  Avivah saved four shots in the final 10 minutes of the game, which featured a lot of contact, headers, collisions and tackles, but a strong sense of sportsmanship. Players live in the same community and many are friends with one another off the field.  Although they played tough, they also played with positivity and menschlichkeit.

The win meant Shalhevet finished on a high note, this win coming just 10 days after defeating the Valley Torah Lady Wolfpack in a similar fashion: 1-0 on a goal by Liat.

“It was a most satisfying way to end our season,” Liat said.  “We held our lines for everything and played defensively.”

Shalhevet entered the game with a conservative approach, set up with four defensemen behind the midfield marker. YULA primarily lined up sets of three and four behind midfield.

“We held our lines for everything and played defensively,” Liat said, adding that her teammates played fast and were always “getting ready to make runs.”

Shalhevet controlled the time of possession for most of the first half, but had their backs against the wall in the second due to a ferocious attack by the Lady Panthers.

“We played very well and really stepped it up the second half,” said YULA junior Sarah Porgess, who particularly commended the contribution of her teammate, sophomore Dani Gross. “I’m not so disappointed in the loss because my team played very well.”

Both teams failed to score in the second half, as Shalhevet blew two fast-breaks. Aviva Paskowitz recovered two very hard-kicked balls to thwart the Panther comeback, in a game that became a nail biter.

The Firehawk girls’ program came a long way in a short time since many players are in their first season as soccer athletes and new to the game.

At the beginning of the season, the team opened up the year with a series of lopsided defeats. Despite the early season struggles, the girls ended the season with back to back wins, their only triumphs of the year.

However the girls worked hard all year long in order to culminate in shutout of their crosstown rivals.

“They gave it their all, all season,” said Liat. “They pushed through rough patches and made a lot of improvement.”