The Ma’ayanot Rapids made Ma’ayanot history last week by defeating SAR to become the volleyball champions of MYHSAL (Metropolitan Yeshiva High School Athletic League).
The Rapids finished the regular season with a 7-3 record, which placed them second in their division. They enjoyed home court advantage in their quarterfinal game against HAFTR, whom they quickly defeated with back to back victories. The Rapids enjoyed similar success by winning the first two games of their semifinal match against Ramaz.
The championship match against SAR, played at Westchester Hebrew High School on Wednesday, March 16th, proved more difficult and exciting. The Rapids handily won the first game 25 to 7, but narrowly lost the second 25 to 21. Rapids Captain Gavriela Colton described the third game of the series as tense. “The volleys were back and forth for minutes at a time. Both teams wanted it so badly, neither would give it up...Players were diving all over the court. We just couldn’t give up the championship!” The final score was Rapids 25, SAR 20. When the Rapids won, “the cheering was so loud you couldn’t even hear the ref’s whistle” exclaimed team member Chavi Cohen.
Colton attributed the team’s success to three main factors: excellent coaching by Eileen Schwartz (Ma’ayanot’s Athletic Director) and Megan Menenzes; the team’s determination to gain experience and to get a head start on the season by playing scrimmage games against public school teams before the yeshiva season started; and to the incredibly cohesive nature of the team. Elaborating on the third factor, Colton explained that team members communicated seamlessly on the court, an essential element for volleyball success. “This team,” she concluded, “is the most united team ever.”
By Pam Ennis