(Courtesy of SSDS Bergen) The 2019 Schechter Sharks boys soccer team kick-started the 2019 season with high expectations, being favored to make a run for the yeshiva middle school championship. The team’s journey began three years ago as sixth graders with the introduction of the school’s first-ever indoor soccer team.
Learning to play together as a team, the Sharks battled fiercely and never gave up; however, their newcomer status would catch up to them in each of their first two years. As graduating eighth graders, the players’ motivation and determination to raise a banner for their school was admirable. Countless hours of practicing, conditioning and even playing together in leagues outside school, helped this team dominate the regular season.
The boys handily won their first three games before facing a chippy Moriah team, which gave them their first loss. Despite their first defeat, the boys did not lose an ounce of concentration. They finished the regular season at 7-1 and entered the playoffs as the number-two seed. Some even believed the team should have been the number-one seed as their schedule was more demanding than any other team’s.
In the quarterfinals, the Sharks knocked out a young Ben Porat Yosef team to reach the semifinals where they would face Moriah again, their only loss of the year. The semifinal game was played with high intensity from both Moriah and the Schechter Sharks. The Sharks very quickly jumped on top to take a 4-0 lead, but Moriah would answer in the second, tying the game before the half. The third and fourth quarters remained intense with both teams adding goals, but remaining tied at 5-5. Moriah would eventually put a goal in the fourth quarter to end the Sharks’ season with a 6-5 loss.
Despite the heart-breaking loss, the boys soccer team provided inspiration to the younger grades at Solomon Schechter. They set the precedent of what Schechter expects from its student-athletes: to be hard-working, determined, dedicated, displaying derech eretz during practices and games, and developing pride in being a Schechter Shark. Congratulations on a great season, and good luck to the graduating eighth graders as they move on to high school.