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The 2012 JCC Maccabi Games held in Rockland County, NY were a learning and growing experience for MetroWest’s Mixed Girls’ Soccer Team. Success for this group was not determined by wins or losses, but by how the group of girls came together over the course of the tournament.
Two athletes from MetroWest were joined by ten others from Springfield (MA), Stamford (CT), Hartford (CT), Marblehead (MA), and Richmond (VA) to form this mixed team. While some of the girls knew one or two others from their area, as a team, the group had never met or played together until the first game of the tournament. The first game did not provide much of an opportunity for pleasantries or getting to know each other as the team faced an always strong Los Angeles side. After going down to LA 0-5 in the first half, the team really found some heart, and played to a 2-2 tie in the second half with goals coming from the “Hartford Connection”, Sydney Gellerman and Hannah Merritt.
After the first game, the team had a chance to really come together, and they did. The girls watched other games together to scout their competition, had team lunches most days, hung out with each other during down time in between games, and spent the evenings unwinding with fun night time activities.
The team went on to play four more games in the tournament and each game saw the girls come together more and more as a team. There was talking on the field and the athletes started to get a feel for where their teammates would be. By the second game, the girls had other teams and coaches shocked that they were playing a mixed team because it looked like the girls had been playing together for years. The cohesiveness of this group was really remarkable. The remaining matches included a 4-1 win over our “neighbors from across the pond”, Great Britain, close matches versus Rockland A and Rockland B, the home town teams and a final match against a tough Toronto squad.
Gellerman led the team in scoring with 6 goals in 5 games, including a 4 goal effort against Great Britain. She wound up being one of the top scorers in the entire tournament. Also tallying goals were Merritt (2), and Biana Iosiovich (2). Elana Silverstein was outstanding in goal the entire tournament, keeping many of the games close. Hannah Katz anchored the defense as the sweeper, playing most of the tournament and coming out for just a few short water breaks. Arielle Rosenberg and Rosie Pofcher both contributed to the strength of the defense and really turned some heads with their play. Tammy Stevens and Emily Libowitz also turned in great efforts on defense throughout the tournament, even playing through slight injuries at times to help the team. Many of the girls, including Rebecca Satz, Shana Criscitiello, and Madison Johnson, were asked to play all over the field, at times in positions they were not accustomed to, and did a great job helping the team from both the back and up top. The sacrifices they made for the benefit of the team were appreciated by all.
In 2012, the MetroWest 16u baseball team intended to go the Rockland Games with one mission in mind: to medal after a very disappointing tournament a year earlier in Philadelphia that was cut short by torrential rain. Unfortunately, however, that 2011 team was stacked with many veteran players that had since aged out. As a result, with only a few returning players, we were compelled to field a team in 2012 that consisted of seven players that were only 13 and 14 years of age. Although our squad was more equipped to play at the 14u level, we nevertheless played “up” to accommodate the few older players who were denied their fair chance to win a medal in 2011. With this backdrop, as we prepared for and traveled to the Rockland Games, we became resigned to the fact that our expectations were simply too high. We began viewing this year as one that would be for the love of the game only, and an opportunity to get some experience as there was “no way” we would be able to compete in the older 16u division.
But then a funny thing happened on the way to the baseball field….
Our group of young, talented players – many of whom had already won two consecutive Gold Medals with the MetroWest Junior Maccabi baseball team in 2010 and 2011 – refused to accept this as a “lost” campaign, and after a slow start, the team really took off, winning 3 of its final 4 games, including a thrilling 5-4 victory over Boca Raton for the Bronze Medal. The keys to victory included virtually flawless defense, timely hitting particularly with two outs and runners in scoring position, and quality starting pitching. Playing excellent fundamental baseball in all aspects of the game, MetroWest was not going to be denied.
Now, as we begin preparation for the 2013 games, with another year under our belts, we look forward to further growth on and off the field, and have set our designs on bringing home the Gold Medal.
Silver - 200 Free Relay
Silver - 400 free Relay
Bronze - 200 Med Relay
Bronze - 200 Free Relay
Silver - 50 Back
Silver - 200 Fly
Bronze - 400 Free Relay
Silver - 200 Med Relay
Bronze -100 Fly
Silver - 500 Free
Silver - 200 Fly
Bronze - 100 Free
Silver - 400 IM
Gold - 400 Med Relay
Gold - 200 Fly
Bronze - 200 IM
Mitch Cohen (Sparta), Josh Drill (West Caldwell), Wyatt Kalb (North Caldwell), Jacob Kaplan (Pine Brook), Ben Kizel (Short Hills), Julian Ritholz (Short Hills), Tyler Storch (Pine Brook), Alex Tarowsky (Pine Brook), Jesse Warech (Pine Brook) were the members of the U16 basketball team that represented MetroWest in the 2012 Games hosted by Rockland County. The team was led by coaches Lonny Tarowsky and Gary Warech. Half of the team were veterans having competed in past JCC Maccabi Games including winning the gold medal in the U14 division in 2010 in Richmond, VA.
As always the competition was fierce. On Monday the team won their first game against Central Jersey. They lost the second game by one point in overtime to Greater Washington. They won both games on Tuesday and their first game Wednesday. Going into the quarter finals Wednesday afternoon the boys had a record of 4-1. MetroWest lost the quarter final game by 4 points to South Jersey, the eventual gold medal team.
By Jesse Warech
Basketball is a major part of my life and I have enjoyed playing ball in the JCC Maccabi Games for the past three summers. I am 16 years old and this past August in Rockland was my fourth summer playing in the games. My first year at the Games as a 13 year old I competed in tennis. Each year brought more fun than the last. The athletics are intense, the activities are fun, and you get a unique chance to give back to the local community.
This past summer I played for the MetroWest basketball team in the U16 division. Most of the guys on the team this year have played together in previous games. We always enjoy getting to play on the same side since during the high school season most of us are going against each other. The level of competition was high as always and the team was tested on more than one occasion. We had an overall record of 4-2 and lost in the quarterfinal to the eventual champions. Even though we didn’t get to the final, I still enjoyed the experience very much and although I was there to play basketball, the sports aspect was only a small piece to a great week.
On Wednesday, all of the participants took part in the JCC Cares Program. This gives everyone the opportunity to give back. This year our team went to an assisted living center where we played bingo and did karaoke with some of the residents. It truly is an experience I will never forget.
In the evenings, when the sports were over for the day, everyone in the games gathered for night activities. The first night was a pool party and BBQ. On Tuesday night we went to Dave and Buster’s and Wednesday was host family night. On this particular evening the athletes spend the night with their host family. This year my host family had a few of their friends over who were hosting athletes as well. The last night was closing ceremonies. There was a carnival and all the participants watched a video showing some clips and highlights from the week.
These fourth JCC Maccabi games in Rockland were my last, but I hope to continue on and eventually take part in the Maccabiah Games in Israel.
The Metrowest 16 and under boys Maccabi soccer team went to Houston in August 2012 and came home with the gold medal. The boys finished with a record of 7-0 and beat a strong Orange County team in the finals 4-0. They scored 51 goals and only allowed 5 against them. Zachary Beckerman ,Sam Eisen, Matt Picon led the team in scoring while Dylan Fiedler Brett Dinowitz and Ross Florin controlled the midfield. Lucas Weissman, Matt lemash and Gideon Tamir held held off the opponents on defense while Bobby Schneiderman and Mark Langendorff did a great job in goal. The boys had a great time together both on and off the field.
Metrowest Maccabi tennis 2012 brought 3 16 yr. olds to Houston. Jordan Gelman, Adam Brodkin and Jason Ginsburg represented our JCC admirably and played some great matches. The heat and long hours on the courts didn't phase them a bit. Jason reached the quarter-finals in singles and Jordan and Adam fell short of a bronze in doubles by 1 game. All three had never played Maccabi before and were thrilled to have such a unique experience and to have captured many lifetime memories.