Added Pages

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Falcon's Nest Notes: Saving the Best for Last; JV Girls Soccer draws with top team in season finale

The JV girls came ready to play; pictured: Michelle Harari puts the ball in play after a North Shore penalty
In the last game of the regular season, the Flatbush Girls JV Soccer team turned in their best performance of the season. Hosting the top team in the MYHSAL Girls JV East Division in the friendly confines of the Falcons’ Nest, the Flatbush Girls came out with high energy, clear focus and no pressure on themselves. North Shore was looking for a win that would give them an equal record to Ma’ayanot, the top team in the West. On paper, it should not have been no contest. Good thing the Falcons did not read that paper! With grit and determination, the girls battled from the first whistle to the final buzzer of overtime, earning a well-fought 6-6 tie with the powerful Stars from Great Neck.

The Merle Dweck Show
Right from the start, the Falcons let their guests know they would be no push-over. With less than two minutes gone by, Merle Dweck found herself alone with ball in front of the North Shore goal and drove the ball home for the opening score, stunning the confident Stars and staking the Flatbush JV Girls to the early lead. Paired with Phyllis Hadar, the two kept the pressure on the North Shore defense. North Shore evened the game on a fluke goal that eluded the Falcon defense. But a few minutes later, Dweck recorded her second goal of the game. Flatbush now held a 2-1 advantage!
The tandem of Phyllis Hadar and Merle Dweck
would be responsible for 5 of the 6 Flatbush goals on the night
Defensively, the Falcons played a solid game, working to clear the ball to the side and away from the goal. And what did trickle through the rest of the period was stopped by the solid play of Goalie Danielle Ashkenazie. Flatbush would score again off the attack tandem of Dweck and Hadar. This time, it was off a beautiful feed from Dweck in the corner to a cutting Hadar on the opposite side. Just like it was drawn up and practiced, Hadar took the feed and one-timed it past the diving North Shore Goalie for the Flacons 3rd score! Before the end of the period, Merle Dweck would strike again. In the waning moments, Dweck broke free and sent the ball rocketing past the North Shore defense and into the net for her third goal of the period – a hat trick for Dweck, all in the 1st quarter! It was the most complete quarter of play put together by the Flatbush JV’s all season.
Sandra Bukobza plants the ball off the face of a North Shore opponent
After being shell-shocked in the opening period, the Stars regrouped and came out challenging the Falcon defense more in period number two. They were able to tally three goals, with one coming late in the period. Their goals were separated by a big score off the foot of Barbara Haddad. Coming off the bench, Haddad had pressed up towards mid-court, picked up a loose ball and blasted it home. Her goal helped preserve the Flatbush lead at the half, 5-4. North Shore was closing, but the Falcons maintained their composure, and the advantage at the midpoint of the game.

Goalie Tandem Loom Large
The second half saw the Falcons look to their defense to preserve the lead. The Stars would throw everything they had at the Flatbush defenders, who time and again turned away the North Shore attack. And, one more time Dweck would strike gold, registering her fourth score of the game and giving the Falcons a 6-4 lead. That cushion was preserved by two HUGE saves by Ashkenazie, one at the mid-way point of the third period and then again with about two minutes on the clock. But in the closing moments of the period, Ashkenazie was injured and with :08 second to play, North Shore got behind an exhausted defense and sneaked the ball past the aching Flatbush goalie. At the end of three periods, Flatbush clung to a slim 6-5 lead, but would have to face the final stanza without Ashkenize, who had turned in a dominant performance until getting injured.
Danielle Ashkenazie makes a difficult save on a point-blank shot from the North Shore attacker
Up stepped reserve goalie Raquel Erdos. In the most pressure-packed of situations, Erdos proved to be cool as a cucumber, and the Falcon defense did not miss a beat. Challenging the Star attackers, chasing down stray balls in the corner and stopping every shot on goal, Erdos was equal to the task. But again, the closing moments of the period saw the Falcons defense show signs of fatigue. With under a minute to go in regulation, North Shore got through and, try as she might, Erdos finally faced a shot she could not defend. The game was tied, 6-6, with only seconds left to play. Those seconds would run out with neither team scoring again. The teams would need an additional 5-minute period to reach the completion of the regular season.
In the waning second of regulation, Sarah Sasson plays the ball out of the defensive zone
Overtime would test both teams, as each had squads playing near exhaustion. The first team to score would win. Mid-way through, both teams had good scoring opportunities, but each goalie would deny their opponents. It was here that Erdos elevated her game. Multiple times North Shore looked poised to register the game-winner. Each time Erdos did what was necessary to shut the door. But with :40 seconds to play, it looked like Flatbush would finally succumb. The Stars were maintaining pressure on the Falcon defensive zone, and the Flatbush girls just could not clear the ball. A shot on goal was stopped by Erdos, but not immediately secured. As the ball was slowly rolling away from her, a North Shore attacker went for it. Erdos pounced on the ball, but it appeared she was too late as the next second the ball was in the net. North Shore erupted in celebration, but it was short-lived. The referee ruled “No Goal!” Erdos had gotten her hand on the ball to secure it, and by rule once the goalie has possession, the offense cannot take it from her. Attacks from both teams the rest of the way were turned aside, and as the final seconds on the 2014 Falcon season ticked away, the girls exalted in the glory of a complete effort and the preservation of a tie against their toughest opponent on the schedule.
The Falcons get ready for the extra period (l. to r.);
Merle Dweck, Michelle Harari, Samantha Chabot and Barbara Haddad
In the end, the defense did everything it could to preserve a win. Outstanding play from the team’s two goalies – the last line of defense for any squad – while not securing victory, led to the denial of North Shore of a win and closed out the best performance by the JV Falcons all season. Clearly, this was a game to savor, and a great effort to build on for the future!

Nest Notes:
The Varsity was to play its final home game of the season following the JV game, but North Shore was not able to field a team. By virtue of the forfeit, the Varsity secured the final MYHSAL playoff spot and a date with West Division top seed Ma’ayanot Rapids. Facing off against Ma’ayanot on Tuesday, 5/13, the powerful Rapids scored a controversial goal less than :20 seconds into the game, and the Falcons never recovered. The Falcons fell by a final score of 18-2. Helen Menashe recorded the first Flatbush goal early in the second half. The other goal came off the injured foot of a gutsy, but determined, Jackie Baum. Awarded a penalty kick for a hand ball in the goal crease, Baum insisted on taking the shot, and drove it home in the lower left corner past the diving Rapids goalie. Celia Tawil had two great scoring opportunities that were denied, one by an outstanding save and the other striking the flimsy goal post.

Jackie Baum ignores her injury and powers home the penalty kick for Flatbush’s second score in their MYHSAL quarterfinal playoff loss at Ma’ayanot in Teaneck, NJ.