The Flatbush Girls Varsity Hockey team held its first lead of the season Monday night (4/3), but the valiant effort fell short as the Central Wildcats came back to win the game, 5-2, at the Yeshiva University High School for Girls’ campus in Queens, NY.
With just two games under their belts, the young (in experience) Falcons showed right from the start that they have been paying attention during their first two contests as much or more than they have been focused in training sessions. The girls have taken those lessons and put them into practice against the Wildcats, with Esther Beyda delivering the Falcons their first lead ever when she scored the first goal of the game – and the first of her career – to give Flatbush the early advantage, 1-0.
The goal came from a commitment on the players’ part to follow the game plan outlined by Head Coach Chelsea Donovan as the Falcons stuck to a strict man-on-man strategy that stopped the Wildcats in their tracks several times. While Sarah Shayo and Jane Zakay held down the fort defensively, Danielle Malka took care of business at the other end along side Beyda who buried that one early for the Falcons. With the girls all in synch, Flatbush held the lead for the majority of the first period before Central got the equalizer.
Defensively, Flatbush Goalie Talia Ovadia also showed improved skills, coming up strong in the clutch as she hugged the post on a few wrap arounds to deny the Wildcats wingers, while Shelly Alkadaa and Stella Lessler worked hard to tie up bodies from screening Ovadia in front of the net.
Midway through in the game, Sarah Weingarten scored again for Flatbush as she broke from the pack and threaded a beautiful cross-court shot into the bottom corner of the net – the second goal of the game for the Falcons and the second goal of her career. But in the end, Central had just enough to edge past the Falcons, denying them their first win of the season. Nevertheless, the Falcons showed that they have become dedicated students of the game, demonstrating clear improvement with each contest.
Clearly, the coaches were very pleased with the effort and were exceedingly proud of the girls. Coach Donovan was effusive in her praise afterwards. “The girls were amazing tonight! Along with Beyda and Weingarten who scored for us, Daniella Leybovitch, Danielle Malka and Leah Krym all had a few opportunities in front of their net which kept Central on their toes, and our bench screaming! We were neck and neck coming into the second period, and all in all the game could have gone either way. We were right with them for almost all of the game. We are really coming together as a team, and I am so proud of their progress!”
The players were disappointed in the outcome, but equally encouraged by the steps they are making. “Losing the last game to SAR was difficult,” noted Daniella Leybovitch afterwards. “But, we really learned a lot from that game. We were so close tonight; we are really looking forward to getting back out there and hopefully getting our first win.”
With the positive outlook and positive approach, that elusive first will not be far away!