Israel claims Maccabiah volleyball double

Men's side beats USA in 4 sets, women claim clean, three-set sweep over Brazil.

Israel volleyball maccabiah 248.88 (photo credit: Jamie Geller )
Israel volleyball maccabiah 248.88
(photo credit: Jamie Geller )
Israel walked away Wednesday night from Kfar Saba's Bar-Lev Hall with two richly deserved championship titles in the men's and women's open division Maccabiah volleyball tournament. On the men's side, with a stunning overall performance, Team Israel earned the title from Team USA in a four set match which finished 25-14, 25-19, 21-25, and 25-16 in favor of the Israelis. Israel's team captain and setter Adi Goren said was happy with the team's performance. "Overall, the gold was the goal, and it ended well, so everything else is great," she said. Team USA took the third set when their defense finally picked up. However, Goren explained, "after the third game, I had to fire everyone up, but we knew we were going to take it." Although Team USA played strong offensively throughout the match, they couldn't beat out Team Israel's hustle and strong back row play. Balancing the momentum of Team USA in the third set with three huge kills in a row, Israel's middle-hitter Ari Feldman believed that the resilience was key to the win. "The first two games were sloppy, but when our passing got better in the third game, we got the middle involved and everyone else played better," he exclaimed. In the women's final, Team Israel also claimed victory in a clean, three set sweep over Team Brazil by scores of 25-16, 25-15, and 25-14. With smarter play and a scorching offense, seasoned Team Israel was unstoppable Wednesday night. Team captain and ferocious outside hitter, Tatjona Fraje said, "we wanted to be a part of this event. There is Maccabiah from all around the world and it is very emotional for us. It is great to be first in the tournament." Team Brazil had trouble getting much past Team Israel's blockers and digging Team Israel's hits. However, Vanessa Valansi, middle hitter, carried Team Brazil with yet another strong performance out of the middle, albeit in a losing cause.