In the “Battle of the Fences,” Donna Klein Academy edged Yeshiva 2-1 in the District 12-1A boys soccer championship match Thursday afternoon.
In a showdown of neighboring Jewish academies, the Eagles earned their first district title in program history in front of a sizable crowd, especially considering the 3:30 p.m. start and the small size of the private schools.
“It’s the Battle of the Fences,” Donna Klein coach Jeremy Weber said. “We share a fence.
“It was great to play our rivals. It’s a bit of friendly rivalry, I would say, but it was good to get the win against them.”
The Eagles (10-2-3) fell behind early, when the Storm (6-3-4) scored in the 14th minute. Jacob Burger notched Yeshiva’s only goal by heading a corner kick into the right side of the net.
But the Storm wouldn’t hold the lead for long. In the 19th minute, Burger made a sliding save to keep Donna Klein from scoring after an Eagles player beat the keeper. The ball rolled out of bounds for a corner kick, which a Yeshiva player hit with his hand. The handball gave the Eagles a penalty kick, with senior Dylan Joseph lining up to take it.
“I never like to think about it too much,” Joseph said. “I just want to hit the ball. If the keeper forces a save, he makes a great save. … The ball just happened to go past the keeper, and I celebrated like it was the end of the world.”
Donna Klein scored for a second time near the end of the first half, with junior Avi Mayron scoring the eventual game-winner.
“I saw a corner kick was coming, so I just tried to position myself the best I could,” Mayron said. “Got into the right side, back post, hit it in. Simple.”
The Eagles took that one-goal lead into halftime, when senior Adam Saitowitz got some great news. He walked back from the spectator section, celebrating and throwing up the “U” — he learned he was accepted to the University of Miami. About 40 minutes later, he could add a district championship as a reason to celebrate.
“It’s the most unbelievable feeling I think I’ve ever had in my life,” Saitowitz said. “Definitely gave me some motivation to keep going. Just wanted to finish off strong before I go to college with a district championship. It’s the first time. I’ve been playing for five years, and it’s nice to bring one home with the boys.”