May 25, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 25, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

TABC Varsity Soccer Team Completes a Perfect Season

On the evening of March 26, the Frisch High School gym was jam-packed with fans of two soccer power houses, the SAR Sting and the TABC Storm. Both teams were undefeated during the regular season and were seeded first and second for the playoffs.

In the first two rounds of the playoffs SAR easily disposed of RAMBAM 14:7 and North Shore 16:5. TABC, on the other hand, had a harder time, beating HANC, 8:4 and DRS 7:4. Throughout the playoffs TABC relied on solid goaltending, team defense and balanced scoring from forwards as well as defensemen. But the team was missing two starters, defenseman Josef Hein and forward Ben Shelling, and defenseman Doni Kilimnick had a badly sprained ankle. TABC was labeled the underdog by 2.5 goals, according to local high school bookies (at least, this is what I was told by one of the TABC fans). The team’s primary focus during the season was their defense, and screams of “NO SHOTS!” became the team’s mantra.

The pre-game ceremony included an introduction of the team starters and playing of the Hatikva and the American National Anthem. Finally, the 2015 championship game was under way. Two minutes into the game, TABC was awarded a free kick deep inside SAR territory. They executed a restart play that was added to their offensive repertoire less than an hour before the game, and practiced a few times in the back of the Frisch gym. Ehud Adler set Doni Kilimnick up for a quick shot, which Doni perfectly placed into the bottom right corner of the net. 1:0 TABC.

This lead lasted less than a second. The SAR captain hit a powerful shot in the top corner of TABC’s net directly from midcourt on the restart bringing the score to 1:1.

Dealing with adversity is another mark of this TABC team. TABC focused on playing their game, letting SAR control the ball on their own side of the field, but attacking the SAR players as soon as they crossed the midcourt. TABC played a very organized defense, with forwards going all the way back to help the defenders. They gave SAR “no shots.”

When TABC gained control of the ball, they counterattacked speedily and lethally. Midway through the first quarter Ehud Adler intercepted the ball, beat the SAR defender, faked out the goalie and placed the ball in the corner of the net. Just a few minutes later Ehud intercepted another ball and darted towards the net. This time, he passed the ball to Doni Kilimnick who scored his second goal of the game. The first quarter finished with TABC leading 3:1.

SAR continued to pass the ball around, trying to find an open man. Five minutes into the second quarter SAR’s forward received a pass in front of the TABC net and beat Rami Levine with a perfectly placed shot in the corner of the net. But the ball never crossed the goal line. TABC’s defender Alex Malech materialized out of nowhere and swatted the ball away. This great defensive play gave TABC a boost of energy, and they mounted a sustained attack: Ehud Adler scored his second goal of the game, making the score 4:1.

But SAR was too good of a team to give up. A few minutes later they executed a perfect “give-and-go” play and this time the ball ended up in the back of the TABC net. With under a minute left in the half, Joe Moskowitz beat a tiring SAR defender, broke alone at the SAR net, and from a sharp angle unleashed a powerful shot in the top near corner, restoring TABC’s three goal lead.

After the break, SAR controlled the ball most of the time. They created a few good scoring opportunities, but Rami Levine was on top of his game, and made several hard saves. In almost perfect replication of Alex Malech’s heroics, his linemate, Michael Benichou, performed a split to block the ball from crossing the goal line, once again preserving TABC’s lead. Meanwhile, TABC generated dangerous counterattacks, forcing the SAR goalie to make several brilliant saves. Neither team scored in the third quarter, the score remained 5:2.

Coach Micah White decided to put the four best offensive players on the field to start the fourth quarter. The move paid off immediately. First, Calev Minsky split SAR’s defense with a perfect pass to Ehud Adler who was breaking towards the net. Ehud placed a left-footed shot into the corner of the net. Moments later Ehud stole the ball from the SAR goalie and scored again. Next, Calev set Ehud for yet another goal, Ehud’s fifth of the game (matching Calev’s five-goal performance against Kushner in the second game of the season). Three goals in under three minutes. The game was practically over. Ehud scored his sixth goal of the game, giving him a double hat trick, and then set up his linemate of two years, and the team’s locker room inspirational speaker, Ben Book, for the final goal of Storm’s perfect season.

When the final whistle blew, the scoreboard read TABC 10 – SAR 2, and pandemonium erupted, with TABC players, fans, faculty and parents pouring out onto the court. TABC’s coach, Sam Shteingart, was doused by his players with dozens of bottles of water. Ehud Adler (6 goals, 4 assists) was named the game’s MVP.

Before the season began, Coach Shteingart told the players that the only team that could beat them would be themselves. If they were to play smart, stick together, support each other, and play like a team, no one could beat them. The Storm followed through.

By Sam Shteingart

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles