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Shalhevet news online: When we know it, you'll know it

The Boiling Point

Shalhevet news online: When we know it, you'll know it

The Boiling Point

Shalhevet news online: When we know it, you'll know it

The Boiling Point

Shalhevet girls volleyball sweeps annual YULA tournament

Gabe Mittman
ULTIMATE: After losing to their crosstown rivals last year, Shalhevet’s possession of the YULA banner capped a happy comeback for the team.

The Firehawk girls volleyball team went undefeated at the YULA Girls Volleyball Tournament Shabbaton this year, defeating the Panthers in the final to redeem themselves from last year’s defeat.

SPIKE: Senior Atara Cohen leaps and eyes the rising ball as she prepares to end a play during the final against YULA March 2. Cohen was named Tournament MVP.
(Gabe Mittman)

YULA Boys High School hosted the event, which started Feb. 28 and ended March 2. Five teams competed: Shalhevet, Jewish Culture High School (JCHS) of Miami, The Ramaz School of New York City, Torah High School of San Diego (THSSD), and YULA Girls.

Shalhevet was invited to the tournament last year too, and made it to the final but lost to YULA in a tough matchup. This year, senior captains Atara and Aviva Cohen, said they felt rewarded for their win and proud of what they were able to achieve. 

“We deserved it last year, and we deserved it this year, and we got it,” said Atara. “I’m so proud of the entire team. We all did so well.” 

Twin sisters, Atara and Aviva they received tournament MVP and Team MVP, respectively.

Each team played six games at the beginning of the tournament to qualify for the playoffs. The top four teams would advance, and the playoffs were single elimination, a tournament style where the losing team of each game is immediately eliminated. 

Against Ramaz, Shalhevet won the first set 25-7 and the second 25-12. Shalhevet beat THSSD 25-6 in the first set and 25-7 in the second, then played JHCS and won 25-9 and 25-12.

We deserved it last year, and we deserved it this year, and we got it,” said Atara. “I’m so proud of the entire team, we did so well.

— Atara Cohen, 12th Grade

Shalhevet’s second game against Ramaz was a 25-16 and 25-17 win. They then faced off against YULA, winning 25-20 in both sets.

Every team started off a bit rusty in the tournament, especially the out-of-state teams who had only arrived at noon and had to play the tournament’s first game starting at 5 pm. 

As each team played more games, they improved their scoring ability. Most teams saw a significant improvement, scoring 5 to 8 more points on average, while others scored 1 or 2 more than their previous games. 

In its semi-final against JHCS, Shalhevet won the first set 25-11 and the second 25-8. 

That advanced the Firehawks to the final, where the school faced off against its crosstown rival for the second year in a row.

JUBILANT: From left, Eliana Wainberg, Aviva Cohen and Goldie Wintner celebrate their victory. (Gabe Mittman)

YULA came out strong, taking a five-point lead over Shalhevet. The Panthers scored quickly, and by the first timeout of the game were up 17-14. The Firehawks made a stellar comeback, scoring multiple aces – serves that the opponent is unable to pass or return – and dives to make hard saves. They won the set 25-22. 

In the second set of the final, the Firehawks held their ground to beat YULA 25-15 and win the tournament. 

While Firehawk players saw this tournament as a chance for them to prove they could win, other teams’ coaches said that the tournament allowed the players to improve both as individuals and as teams, and that was the most important. 

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) girls’ volleyball season ended in October, with the playoffs lasting until the beginning of November. Since then, the Los Angeles girls’ volleyball teams have not had any league games. 

“I feel like at first, since we’ve been off the court since October, they’re kind of getting used to the game and game-like situations outside of practice,”  said YULA Coach Cicana Stinson in a pregame interview on opening day. 

Coach Natalie Livermore, Shalhevet’s coach, took the team to the 2023 CIF playoffs. She expressed her appreciation for the YULA competition. tournament,

“Our season is so short, it’s nice just to be able to have more opportunities to play volleyball and just to coach them and enjoy spending time with them,” Coach Livermore said.

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