If you are ever having a bad day, be grateful you are not the Westchester Wolverine soccer team.
After losing their first six games and starting goalie, the team is lost, finding comfort in the cellar in the Eastern Division. With a goal differential of -42 and opponents scoring, on average, 7 more goals than them, critics ask “why even bother playing?” The reason is what makes this team so special.
Most teams would rather give up or simply forfeit the match beforehand than face the humiliation that comes with suffering such huge defeats. But their team has found a leader in their star striker turned goalie, Ezra Elzweig. Elzweig, the captain of the club, is the team’s leading scorer in goals and minutes played and refuses players to even think about giving up.
As a dual athlete in hockey and soccer, Elzweig has inspired his team. He can often be seen pumping up his teammates before and during the game with inspirational quotes. Elzweig takes his leadership very seriously, offering very little room for laziness. “To me, being the team leader is all about setting examples. Never giving up and always trying to improve. Always run harder. That’s what I tell my troops. No matter what the scoreboard says, I want to see 110% everyday from everyone”, Elzweig said in an interview. Despite being the team leader in goals, he is the least selfish on the team. When their goalie, Ben Kahn, injured his foot during a game, the team was scrambling for a replacement goalie. Westchester, one of the smaller schools in the Yeshiva league, does not have the leisure of carrying a back up goalie as other schools do. In fact, the school is so small the coach didn’t even bother conducting tryouts, rather issuing a walk-on team. As a result, their options were scarce. Elzweig then offered to leave his usual position as striker and switch to the more difficult and different position as goalie. The coach was at first reluctant to switch Elzweig out of fear that their offense, averaging 3.25 GPG (Goals Per Game), would sulk to a lifeless and dead offense production. He was right to think so as the team was coming off a 6 goal performance in their 13-6 loss against Rambam (the team’s most offensive game dating back to April 10th of last year when they scored 8 goals against Rambam). So he insisted on starting Freshman Aaron Stremt in goal against North Shore.
The coach was then faced with no choice. Stremt gave up six early goals against North Shore. He then called on Elzweig to relive Stremt in goal. Just as he predicted, the team’s offense plummeted, scoring one lone goal in the 8-1 massacre. Despite being the All-Star player, not everything comes easy to Elzweig. “It’s always challenging playing a new position. But right now we are in a state of emergency and we need to start playing well. If that means I need to play goalie, I told coach ‘put me in goal’. I don’t expect to pick up the position right away, but I do expect our team to recover from Kahn’s injury and bounce back” Elzweig said in regard to being the new goalie. As Elzweig learns the ins and outs of the new position, the team will have to learn to adapt without him on offense.
At press time, the team has two more games left on their schedule, May 4th against Rambam where they hope to find their offensive spurt again, and their season finale on May 6th when they ship off to DRS. Both results can be found on myhsal.com. Not only does Elzweig expect at least one win, but he claims “one win would mean the whole world to us. It’s what we have been working for for months. I keep telling these guys to put in all the work and effort they can and it would be great to see it all pay off”.
Good luck, Wolverines, you deserve it.
Benjamin Vogel is a senior at SAR High School. He joined the JLBWC staff as his Senior Exploration
By Benjamin Vogel