December 27, 2016

GOAls and more GOAls for GOA’s Girls

Aryeh Lande ‘18

The fate of the Golda Och Academy girl’s varsity soccer team’s season hung in the balance.
Senior and co-captain Adi Brickman stepped up to deliver the free kick. With 15 minutes left in the first half, the score read 3-1. GOA was losing to Montclair Kimberly Academy in what had the potential to be their final game of the season. Junior Maya Robbins had just scored a goal five minutes earlier and a chance like this could swing the momentum in GOA’s favor going into the second half.
The fans around the stadium fidgeted nervously as the referee moved the wall back 10 yards knowing the importance of the play. Brickman surveyed the goal, strode up and coolly placed the ball just out of the reach of the keeper – 3-2.
Sensing the buzz of the fans, the players fought on, pressuring the opposition into making careless mistakes. GOA’s momentum abruptly ended, however, as the referee made a controversial hand ball decision in the box on the last play of the first half. MKA was given a penalty kick and the chance to cushion their lead, which they took without hesitation. At halftime the score was 4-2.
With only one substitute and no momentum, the Road Runners fell 8-2, knocking them out of the tournament and effectively ending their season. Despite their early exit from the NJSIAA Prep B Tournament, their season was a success. With a 12-4 record, the team finished second in the SEC-Colonial division.
Plagued by injuries, the team overcame exhaustion and slim odds with the help of several key players such as senior captains Brickman, Emily Blum and Emily Binstein. The trio set the pace during the games, making a difference at both ends of the field.
Brickman led the team in goals and assists with 22 and 15 respectively. She only failed to score in one game all season. The 22 goals and 15 assists brought her to 75 of them combined in her high school career.
Meanwhile, Blum played impressively at sweeper, taking control of the back and helping develop the younger defenders. She and her defense played a vital role in GOA’s 11 shutouts.
Positioned in front of Blum at stopper, Binstein contributed defensively as well as offensively with four goals and three assists. She is known for her hard style of play. According to injured goalkeeper, junior Abby Faynshteyn, she “destroyed everyone who got in her way,” branding GOA soccer with physical yet effective play.
Though these three will graduate this year, GOA girl’s soccer looks bright.
Freshman Ally Landau contributed 17 goals and 14 assists in just her first season with the team. If that play continues, she may be on pace to break records later in her career.
Additionally, there is incredible depth at the goalkeeper position with three juniors, Rebecca Landau, Anna Shpilsky and Faynshteyn, capable of playing goalie along with other positions. The trio combined for 117 saves of which Landau had 105.
This versatility is what made this year such a success.
When asked about the team’s performance, Athletic Director Mrs. Janet Herman beamed.
“This season has been very exciting,” she said. “The girls have done well against formidable opponents and it has been amazing to watch. It is one of the best seasons of my tenure and it was Coach [Robert] Cohen’s best season.”
Certainly, Mr. Cohen has played a major role in the success of the team, bringing a winning mentality to a battered squad. It has been a collective effort from start to finish.

Hopefully, the success will continue into next season as well.

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