Yavneh boys’ soccer earns 1st ever playoff win

Bulldogs defeat Longview Christian, 5-1, face St. Mary’s

By Sean Shapiro
Special to the TJP

The Yavneh Academy boys’ soccer team continued its historic season with a 5-1 win against Longview Christian.
It was the first playoff victory in program history.
“Very proud of the boys, they worked so hard for this,” Yavneh coach Alan Sandler said. “They’ve worked very hard this season and really worked hard, I’m very proud of what this team had done.”
Max Weinstein and Elisha Klein each scored a pair of goals, while Ofek Reef had the other goal as Yavneh improved its record to 12-1 this season. It was the third time Yavneh had reached the playoffs, but the first time they weren’t ousted immediately.
“It was a great way to start the playoffs,” Weinstein said. “My teammates gave me great passes and I put the ball in the net. It felt really good to get going that way and now we still have our goal of winning state.”
Yavneh took control of the game early and had a 3-0 lead before Longview Christian countered to make it 3-1.
“Their best player scored a very nice goal,” Sandler said. “But our team didn’t stop, they did a good job of responding and made it 4-1 and then 5-1.”
Yavneh will now play Longview St. Mary’s Catholic for a trip to the TAPPS state tournament next weekend.
St. Mary’s Catholic has a 6-3 record and opened its playoffs with an 8-1 win against Denton Calvary.
“It should be a good game,” Sandler said. “We know they’re a good team and we’re a good team. It should be a match that really tests our team, but they should be ready.”
The game time has yet to be finalized, but it will likely be played Monday to account for the Jewish holidays — Wednesday night through sundown Friday  are Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. Shabbat starts Friday night and ends sundown Saturday — and the fact that St. Mary’s Catholic can’t play Sunday.
“We’re still working out the details, but we’ll play Monday most likely,” Sandler said. “That will give either team enough time to prepare for the state tournament the next weekend.”
Yavneh has been passing tests all season.
Sandler said it has a talented roster that passes the ball well and controls possession.
“I really like how the team plays smart,” Sandler said. “They listen well and they play together very well as a group. We control the play and make sure the ball is always moving. The team does a good job of being that — a team — and making sure everyone is involved in the play.”
The team started off strong early in the season, and that momentum carried over into the first district title in school history.
Now that same feeling has rolled into the playoffs.
“We had a nice start and I think we got hot from that,” Weinstein said. “After that we’ve gotten better as a team, and we’re a real close group. It’s been fun, and as a team I think we can keep getting better.”

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