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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Falcon's Nest Notes: Varsity Soccer Kicks-Off 2014 Season

The Boys Soccer Falcon starters get ready to kick off the 2014 season
With the weather still trying its best to warm up, the Flatbush Varsity Soccer teams gave the seasons a little nudge to help, getting a 3-day head start on Spring with season-opening games on Monday, 3/17. Both Boys and Girls Varsity Soccer programs were in action, with differing results as they opened up the spring competition season with the boys hosting the Lions of MTA and the girls travelling to the HANC Hurricanes on Long Island.

The Boys Varsity Falcons took the court with energy and vigor, with a sharp set of new goals in place lending an air of style to the old charms of the Falcon’s Nest. In addition to new goals, the team also debuted a new goalie, with Jack Mizrahi backstopping the Varsity for the very first time. Exuding confidence, Jack looked to find a comfort zone during warm-ups, but it is natural to be apprehensive during one’s first career varsity action in a pressure-filled position. With the team’s sizing each other up, the teams played to a draw through the game’s early stages. But the Lions worked hard to pepper Mizrahi as often as possible, and eventually they got one - and then another - past Mizrahi late in the first quarter. These early goals could be chalked up to first-game jitters. Nevertheless, the Falcons found themselves in a 2-0 deficit at the end of the first period.
Team Captain Ovadiah Fetieh looks to move around a Lion defender
The second period brought signs of life from the Flatbush squad as the boys finally got one on the board, with Ovadiah Fteiha netting a dandy past the Lion keeper and halving the score. Though Flatbush shortly gave the goal right back, the Falcons answered again. This time it was Joey Aini who shot the ball with skill past MTA’s goalie, and the Falcons went to halftime with the momentum in their favor and a whole lot of confidence in their game.
Rookie Goalie Jack Mizrahi reaches out to make the save
The start of the second half saw the Falcons continue to keep pressure on MTA. And while Mizrahi settled in and sharpened his game, the next score went to the Lions who managed to squeak a fourth goal past the improving Falcon netminder. With his resolve steeled, Mizrahi did not allow another ball past him in the third stepping up with a few big-time saves on at least two point-blank shots from the Lions, and the Flatbush offense responded late in the period to again close the gap to one goal behind a sharp strike off the foot of David Ben-Dayan. That would be all the scoring for the third period, and the teams headed to the 4th quarter with MTA clinging to a 4-3 lead, but with the Falcons closing hard.
Defender Jesse Keren clears the ball
The final period started well for Flatbush, with the Falcons maintaining pressure in the MTA end, but they just could not get the equalizer. The last best scoring opportunity came when the Falcons’ Ilay Fachima slipped behind the Lion defense to take a crossing pass, but he could not settle and direct the ball into an open corner, with the ball elevating off his toe and travelling high over the goal. With the miss, the wind appeared to go out of the Falcon sails, and the defense soon relinquished a 5th goal to the visitors. At that point, the wheels came off, and the boys would yield three more goals to their guests from MTA, resulting in a final score of 8-3 and a tough loss in the season opener for the Boys from Flatbush.
Co-Captain Celia Tawil controls the ball deep in the HANC zone
As slow as the boys start was offensively, the girls beginning was conversely rapid. With a slightly depleted roster due to minor injuries and scheduling conflicts, there was doubt as to how the team would perform in this early season match-up. But, that doubt did not last very long. Less than one minute in, the Girls Varsity Falcons found the back of the net with Senior Co-Captain Celia Tawil striking gold and staking the team to a lead they would never relinquish. With the first line offense keeping the pressure on throughout, Tawil tallied her second goal of the season less than two minutes later, giving the Falcons a 2-0 lead after quarter one. The second quarter saw more offense from the Flatbush Varsity girls. Robyn Saad equaled Tawil’s 1st quarter tallies with two goals of her own to go along with one from teammate Jackie Baum. As a result, the teams went to the break with Flatbush holding a commanding 5-1 lead.
Lorraine Shamie takes the ball away from her HANC opponent
Equally impressive to the offensive output was the defensive effort put forth by the Flatbush girls. Backed by stellar goalkeeping from the tandem of Michelle Anzaroot and Sara Rezak, the Falcons stymied the Hurricane attack all night. Anzaroot yielded only one goal the entire first half, and the team defense provided by Rochelle Tawil, Diane Azrak, Julie Mizrahi and Lorraine Shamie was rock solid. Throughout the game, the defenders never gave HANC’s offense the chance to set up scoring opportunities. As a result, the Faltbush girls were able to extend their lead with Celia Tawil depositing the ball in the goal a third time for the team’s first hat trick of the season, Jackie Baum getting a second goal and Defender Diane Azrak registering one from the defensive line. Flatbush closed out their scoring with Varsity rookie Helen Menashe netting her first career goal! With the game in hand, the Falcon defense relaxed and allowed the host Hurricanes to score 3 late goals. While this will provide fuel for future practices, the 3 scores proved inconsequential, and the total team effort allowed the Falcons to leave Long Island with a convincing 9-4 opening game victory.
Julie Mizrahi defends against the Hurricanes
With a very short turn around after opening night, the Varsity Girls were back on the road and back on the court a mere three nights later (with a number of the varsity players finding no rest in the interim as they were on the slopes in Vermont enjoying the Senior Ski Trip), and Assistant Coach Emily Shrem filed this report on the team’s second game of the season:

“First off, Wow - what a win! I haven't been at a heart racing game like that in a really long time! We started off the first period and you could already tell that both teams had even strengths. I knew instantly that this was going to be a game we needed to work for. North Shore scored the first goal of the game, and we found ourselves trailing for the first time this season. But, all you could hear on the bench was "It’s okay! We are only down by 1! We can do this!" Flatbush then quickly responded with a goal by Jackie Baum. At that point the team was going insane!! Jackie scored a great goal! The next 2 quarters were scoreless as both teams pushed and fought for another goal to take the lead. We had a bunch of really good chances, but you could say our timing isn't perfect just yet. Before the start of the 4th quarter, I took the team aside and told them that no matter what happens tonight we fought hard and I know all of you want this win. Let’s just get one more goal so we can have smiles on our faces and also go home happy(at this point the JV was getting a little anxious because of how late it was!). Finally, with 6 minutes left on the clock Julie Mizrahi, a defender, moved up on the court, and with the help of Jackie Baum and Diane Azrak scored the go-ahead goal. That was exactly what we needed! The team was going nuts! But, the first thing the players then said was, "Wait! It’s not over yet.” Three minutes later, Diane Azrak sealed the win with the team’s third goal! By that moment we knew that the sweat, blood, and tears were all worth it because we had this game in the bag. As the clock wound down, the team on the stands stood and got ready to cheer for their win. And that’s exactly what we did! The game was another win for the Girls Varsity team. The final score was 3-1. 

There were specific people that really showed their strengths during the game. Michelle Anzaroot, with her unbelievable goalie skills letting only one goal go by; Julie Mizrahi with her amazing defense and her game winning goal; Diane Azrak, Celia Tawil and Jackie Baum who offensively fought so hard for the win; Lorraine Shamie who was unbelievable defending, playing her best. The team played amazing and they should be so proud of themselves. We are starting off the season right, 2-0! I can’t wait for next week’s games!”