The United States delegation was leaving Israel with a little extra baggage after earning a long list of medals at the 19th Maccabiah Games. The closing ceremonies were held July 30 at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem. Here is a brief recap of some of the medals won by local participants.
Masters of the Ice
When several of the local ice hockey players on the U.S. Maccabiah masters team were asked prior to the games who they considered the favorite to win, they predicted Canada — based on reputation, not actual knowledge of team composition.
It turns out they were partially correct. The United States did face Canada in the finals of the four-team tournament, which featured players age 40 and up, and the Canadians did beat them earlier in the games. But the United States, which also defeated Russia in the semifinals after previously losing to them, enacted revenge and captured the gold medal 7-4 over Canada, which until that point had been undefeated.
Matt Steinberg, a forward on the U.S. team from Ft. Washington, called winning gold the “most memorable sports event” of his life.
In addition to Steinberg, the team featured three other local players: Peter Levitt of Bala Cynwyd, Jon Hodes of West Conshohocken and Joshua Petersohn, who lives in Center City.
Junior Girls Soccer Takes Gold
Most soccer teams would be satisfied with recording a shutout in one game and thrilled if they could do it in two consecutive games.
Imagine playing an entire tournament without allowing a goal. The U.S. junior girls soccer team did just that en route to winning a gold medal.
In the finals, the team defeated Israel 1-0. The team, comprised of 15- to 18-year-olds, featured four local players: Elissa Dotzman and Gabrielle Rosenfeld, both from Holland; Ellie Greenberg from Gladwyne; and Meredith Manley from Pottstown.
Fencers Capture Medals
The U.S. fencing team, coached by Marshal Davis, an attorney from Furlong, enjoyed significant success at the games.
In a blog, Davis called interacting with players and coaches from other countries prior to the opening ceremonies in Jerusalem “one of the most unique experiences.” Entering Teddy Stadium during the ceremonies to thousands of fans cheering and waving American flags also made an impression on Davis.
“I’d venture to guess that Israel is one of the only nations in the world where Americans are loved and welcomed so deeply,” said Davis, who is also a coach at Swarthmore College and Liberty Fencing Club in Warrington.
The fencing team won gold in men’s sabre, women’s sabre, men’s foil, women’s foil and men’s epee. Matthew Branman from Villanova won an individual silver in the men’s foil competition.
Basketball Teams Win Gold, Silver
Jamie Chadwin, an Ardmore resident coaching the U.S. youth division basketball team, wrote in a blog that his players “picked the right time to have our best effort, focus and execution in the tournament.” He was referring to the team’s victory over Israel in the finals 78-62. The team featured Matthew Sherman of Penn Valley and Michael Greenman of Linwood, N.J.
“This is an incredibly impressive group of young men,” wrote Chadwin. “Not only can they play ball, but they will be attending some of the top academic institutions in the country.”
Matthew Sherman's younger brother Corey Sherman's U.S. junior division basketball team won silver, losing in the finals to Israel. The team also featured Eli Needle of Merion Station; Jeremy Horn of Wynnewood; and Michael Berg of Merion Station.
The U.S. open division basketball team — featuring Bryan Cohen of Feasterville and Jacob Cohen of Berwyn — defeated Argentina 87 to 76 in the finals. Bryan Cohen scored 14 points in the victory.
“It was a wonderful night," said coach Brad Greenberg on a Maccabiah.com blog. "Argentina has a great team. I’m very proud of my young players, and we’ll have great memories from the Maccabiah."
Football Team Wins Gold
The U.S. open division football team defeated Argentina in 4-3 in a penalty shootout. The team featured four local players: Matthew Kadoch of Wallingford; Max Kurtzman of Bryn Mawr; Ryan Jones of Holland; and Scott Rowling of Richboro.