(Ma’ayanot athletics) The Rapids varsity volleyball team headed to Atlanta for their inaugural girls volleyball tournament this weekend led by AJA with Justin Katz, his amazing wife Yael, and Marci Joel managing complicated logistics.
The competition was fierce with schools from across the country including Berman, Maimonides, NYHS(Seattle), MDY, Frisch, SAR, and hosted by AJA.
The Rapids had their first game against the powerhouse Berman. With their small team of eight and persistent ruach and grit, the Rapids pulled off a shocking win as an underdog in their division. Senior captains Talia Wallach and Reeva Belgrade had many points from the front and back rows, with tips at the net and aces from powerful serves. Seniors Hannah Milner and Tziporah Bargad were diving for close balls and leading the team in cheers to pump them up between points. Setters, junior Chedva Bender and sophomore Adira Fuchs stayed poised and confident setting up their team consistently and getting several points a match with unexpected dips. Sophomore Sarah Manevitz stayed strong, confident and consistent as she had several points a match with hits, pushes and aces. Emma “the firecracker” Rapfogel, kept the team’s spirits up playing in points and screaming and jumping up and down from the sideline like a firecracker.
The next day they matched up against the talented Maimo team. The Rapids were neck-and-neck the whole time, but unfortunately couldn’t clench the W. Immediately after this game, they faced a familiar talented opponent in SAR, but the Rapids weren’t the same team as usual. They came to fight, scratch and claw through every point. SAR had a strong lead, but the Rapids came back again and again to keep each match closer and closer. Although they didn’t win, they felt the difference in their game; they had played well and stayed positive.
Shabbos was a full experience with a beautiful speaker, Tamar Warburg Sinensky, and dvar Torah from individuals including Bargad. A Torah bowl competition was also enjoyed on Shabbos afternoon. The camp-like ruach was contagious and the teams wouldn’t stop singing and dancing even after Havdala. Motzei Shabbos was a true bonding experience with a silent DJ pumping out music with girls from all different schools dancing under the black lights together. They enjoyed S’mores, homemade pizza from special ovens and Krispy Kreme donuts.
Sunday morning, they started their first match against NYHS in the Silver Bracket division and won, with exceptional play. Congrats to SAR on their championship win. Congrats to our all-tournament team winners, Milner and Bender.
Coach Chayim, in his 11th year coaching, and Dahlia Sulimanoff were extremely proud of their team’s attitude throughout the tournament and their level of play. Thank you to the AJA hosts and community for their generous hospitality and to Justin and Marci for a professionally run, competitive and fun tournament. These are experiences these ladies will never forget.