By John Baker
Momentum can be a powerful force in any sport. Knowing how and when to take advantage of it – and how and when to stop it – can be an art form.
Jewish Community High School of the Bay’s girls volleyball team mastered a pair of momentum shifts on Sunday afternoon en route to a 25-13, 25-16, 25-21 win over rival Kehillah at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.
With the victory, Jewish Community took home the Kiddush Cup, awarded annually to winners of each sporting event between the two Jewish schools.
The Wolves (10-4) weren’t really challenged in the first game, as Jewish Community took advantage of a number of both forced and unforced errors by Kehillah, including the game’s final point, when the Rams (2-8) sent a serve into the net. Zoe Morgan-Weinman and Brooke Rosell had key kills in that game for Jewish Community.
But momentum initially went Kehillah’s way in the second game. After the Rams pulled ahead 8-4, Jewish Community head coach Amy Hoffman called a time out.
“The Kiddush Cup . . . is a big deal for our schools and anything can happen,” Hoffman said. “[At one point], we let a lot of the mental part of the game creep in and had some mental errors.”
Following the time out, the Wolves went on a 21-8 run to win the game.
“To be honest, I don’t know [what Hoffman said],” said Jewish Community co-captain Paige Lerman. “A lot of this game is mental, and when there’s a shift in momentum, there’s a necessity to regroup and refocus. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you say, you just need to take that moment to catch your breath and let your brain get back into the game.”
Whatever the message, momentum truly had shifted. Elana Fogel served six straight points near the end of game two and helped put Jewish Community up by two games.
“We have a really great team and we play off each other,” Lerman said. “This was our last home game and it’s always great to pick each other up.”
The momentum shift continued into the third game, as Fogel served the first six points, but the Rams made a strong attempt to come back, tying the game at 20-20 before Jewish Community recovered. Lerman’s kill through the hands of a Kehillah defender proved to be match point.
“It was one of those days when we had a hard time getting our focus and buckling down and playing how we know how to play,” Hoffman said. “I think in the third [game] that caught up with us.”