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Denebola » Nick Sobel http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 Sports Spotlight: Gabe Feldstein http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/sports-spotlight-gabe-feldstein/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/sports-spotlight-gabe-feldstein/#comments Wed, 14 Apr 2010 04:32:50 +0000 Nick Sobel http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4252 Gabe Feldstein, starting goalie and captain of the Boys’ Hockey team, should need no introduction. His accolades speak for themselves.

A four-year Varsity starter, three-year Captain, four-time team MVP, two-time 110-Percent award winner, and four-time Dual County League (DCL) All-Star, Feldstein has excelled on the ice since his arrival at South.

Perhaps one of the most underrated athletes in the entire athletic program, Feldstein remains modest about his accomplishments. “You get out what you put in, and what I’ve put in is a lot of work, he said.

Feldstein began playing organized hockey in third grade. This early start not only allowed him to develop skills earlier than other players, but helped him find how hockey could give meaning to his life.

“I love [hockey], says Feldstein. “It’s something that I love to do and that gives me satisfaction. That’s all anyone can really ask for, right?

Under Feldstein’s leadership, the Hockey team has taken leaps forward. This past season, the team put itself in position to make a late season tournament run. The Lions missed the tournament by only two games, an accomplishment which has eluded them since the 1996 season.

For Feldstein, being a part of one of the strongest teams in 13 years would be an extraordinary way to end his outstanding high school career.

“We’ve worked hard, and of course there are games you look back on wishing we had pulled out a few more points, he said. “We’ve got a shot at the tournament and that’s really important.

This winter, the team posted a 7-11-2 record, a drastic improvement upon last season’s 2-15-3 mark. “He kept us in a lot of games we shouldn’t have been in, junior Ty McGarry said.

Feldstein’s skills played a large role in the program’s newfound success, as he had a tremendous impact on both the offense and defense.

From a defensive standpoint, having Feldstein between the pipes has taken the pressure off of the defense. “It’s good to know that he is behind you because if you make a mistake, you probably aren’t going to have to pay for it because he will make the save, senior Phil Rosenberg, a defenseman, said.

According McGarry, Feldstein’s presence has allowed him to be more aggressive on the offensive end. “I wasn’t too worried about having goals go into the net, he said.

Feldstein likes to fire up the team before games and between periods with impassioned motivational speeches. “Hockey is all about heart, Feldstein said. “The team that wants to win more will usually end up with the [win].

Said Rosenberg of the speeches: “He would say just go out there, do your best, and have fun. It helped a lot.

Feldstein has also taken time to guide the younger players on the team and act as a role model. Sophomore Danny Fitzpatrick noticed and admired Feldstein’s dedication and commitment.

“[Feldstein] would do anything for the team, and he would put his heart out during the game, he said. “He was just a great all-around player.

With his senior, season over, Feldstein is happy with the personal accolades that he received during the 2010 season. All-Conference, DCL All-Star, and Team MVP honors, combined with the 110-Percent award, round out an impressive high school career.

Feldstein will try out for the Hockey team at Northeastern University next winter, but is not sure whether he will make it.

“I don’t think I’m cut out to play Varsity, he said. “I think I’ll always be a part of [hockey], whether I’m a coach or something like that, but hockey will always be a part of my life, so that’s something I’ll look forward to.

Even though the team failed to make the tournament again, Feldstein’s legacy will remain: a great goalie, captain, and teammate.

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High school drivers not quite riding dirty http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/high-school-drivers-not-quite-riding-dirty/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/high-school-drivers-not-quite-riding-dirty/#comments Wed, 23 Dec 2009 07:56:38 +0000 Nick Sobel http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3432 Everybody has those romantic visions of high school senior year. We dream of having it all’€being recognized for all our exploits, walking the halls like a rock star, and driving a sexy car that turns heads as we fly at twice the speed limit down Brandeis Road.

But herein lies the issue. High school drivers are inexperienced, overconfident, and under immense pressure to impress their blasé friends with their over-zealous acceleration and debatable turning strategies. This lack of ability and experience, coupled with peer pressure, is enough to make driving a very dangerous place for unsuspecting (and even suspecting) motorists in and around school grounds.

With so many teens on the road listening to music so loud that they can’t recall what a stop sign means (full stop and three seconds, people), there is an unsurprisingly high number of driving-related incidents involving the school and its surrounding area. This is not to mention some of the issues high school drivers tend to have when intoxicated.

Aside from the safety problems posed by teen drivers, there is the effect on traffic. Because the school lacks sufficient parking spots to house every car, drivers are forced to parallel park along Brandeis, the road running by the school from the front entrance to the field house.

The parking on Brandeis creates jams every morning, when oncoming traffic is unable to pass cars in the process of parking on the narrow road. Horrific traffic ensues all the way down Brandeis, starting hundreds of yards before the school and winding down side streets that feed hundred of drivers from Parker Street to Brandeis. So the unfortunates who spent five too many minutes straightening their hair find themselves marked tardy.

On the monetary front, possession of a car is extremely demanding. Students driving in the all-too-popular fast-and-furious fashion described earlier can make their Honda Civics guzzle gas like Hummers (and wreck them pretty often too).

The high gas prices we’ve all come to expect can put a serious dent in any student’s coffers. They (by which I mean their parents) are forced to pay for repairs and towing fees’€which add up quickly, as offenders are charged $110 for every time they get towed.

Parking passes can help students avoid being towed, but they are only available to seniors for $200 per semester. The passes provide a guaranteed spot in the lot across from the school’s front entrance, an opportune location that saves lucky seniors long walks down Brandeis in the freezing cold.

But compare that to a bus pass, which only sets back a South student $180 for an entire year. That’s saving $110 per semester. You may have to be the only senior on the bus, but that’s enough to pay for being towed!

Now up to this point, I’ve been a pretty big buzzkill; I’ve painted high school drivers as expensive, inexperienced, dangerous drivers who constantly screw up. This is, of course, not the complete truth.

There do exist drivers who do not fit this stereotype. Some actually help their parents by driving carefully and chauffeuring younger siblings all over Newton. In these cases, having a car is warranted, because the student takes stress off of the parent and helps carry some of the load. Unfortunately, this is not usually the situation.
And so we will continue to drive too fast, park poorly, and go out to lunch at Tango Mango every single day. We will continue to park illegally, get towed, cost our parents money, and act our age. Maybe someday high school students will be model citizens.

But after all, every part of high school is about learning. And driving a car is no different.

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Lady Lions look to renew success http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/lady-lions-look-to-renew-success/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/lady-lions-look-to-renew-success/#comments Wed, 23 Dec 2009 06:25:53 +0000 Nick Sobel http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3360 After a season that included the team’s first postseason win in four years, an eight-game improvement in the win column, and a heartbreaking defeat in a semifinal matchup with Needham High School, the Girls’ Basketball team is locked and loaded for another shot at the title. With standout juniors Kendall Burton, Sophie Bikofsky, and Chloe Rothman returning, the team looks poised to improve on last season’s great success.

With all of these stars, the bar has been raised and the expectations for this year’s team are high. The girls have been working hard during the offseason to improve and have been motivated by the memory of their crushing overtime defeat in last year’s tournament.
“I was definitely disappointed after the end of last year because I knew our team could have done better and we could have made it much farther than we did, Bikofsky said. “The loss and the disappointment have motivated us [a lot] to get better as a team.

“I think that the positive energy and chemistry on our team this year will help us improve. I think that those two things plus hard work and dedication will add up to a more successful season.

Part of the girls’ great success last year, was the hard work and dedication of their second-year head coach, Sam Doner. After stepping in as the new coach prior to last season, Doner implemented a new style of offense which optimized the performance of his offensive players. The style, which he has described as “playing free, involves a loose idea of where players should be on the floor, allowing players the freedom to improvise “on the fly.
“[Playing free] keeps us calm at all times, Bikofsky said. “It’s also easier for us to get in a rhythm when we play our game. This opportunity, coupled with the teams incredible raw talent, creates a high-flying, fast-paced, and prolific offense greatly contributed to last season’s success. After a full year practicing in this previously unfamiliar fashion, the experience this year’s squad has gained is another reason to expect big things from the Girls’ Basketball team.

With a young but talented lineup including many skilled returning players, many of whom were leaders on the team last year, this year’s team is looking to be one of the best teams the Girls’ Basketball program has seen in recent years.

“I think that if we play our game and play to our full potential, Bikofsky said, “we could go as far as we want to.
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With a new head coach and a plethora of talent, the 2009 season looked promising for the Lions. A lack of execution hindered the team from playoff contention.

“We had the talent to achieve our goal; we just lacked focus on and off the field, junior and midfielder Colby Medoff said.

The team, despite its shortcomings in the win column, played a very exciting brand of soccer, which prompted many more South students to attend games. Even with the strong support, however, the Boys’ Soccer team seemed unable to put together two solid halves in the first portion of its season.

“That’s what really differentiates a good team from a great team, senior and captain Alex Casler said. “We could compete with the great teams for a moment, but we couldn’t string together enough good minutes in a row.

“To take the next step as a team, we all need to buy in to [Head Coach John Conte's] program. Ultimately, that’s how it goes and that’s what we’ll need to do if we want to make the tournament in the future.

Despite early troubles, South had an opportunity to qualify for the state tournament. The late-season effort proved to be too little too late, as Lincoln-Sudbury triumphed over the Lions. The defeat echoed the same issues that hindered the team all season. South seemed to be in control with a 3-1 advantage late in the second half, but ended up losing focus and the lead.

During that two game winning streak, the Lions played with passion and had great communication. They developed a strong team defense over the two matches.

A few lineup changes facilitated this improvement. Senior and captain Mark Garrity switched from his usual midfield position to forward, joining seniors and fellow captains Tamir Zinger and Brendan Shanny.

Untested sophomore Miles Meth, who played brilliantly and even scored a goal in a win against Boston Latin, replaced standout junior and midfielder Eitan Bulka after Bulka was sidelined due to ineligibility.

Casler, a defensive star for the Lions all season, continued to frustrate opposing forwards with his skill and speed. The Lion’s defensive front played strong with Casler, sophomore Peter Natov, and juniors Alex Foner and Jojo Lee in front of senior goalie Josh Richards.

The Lions finished their season on a sour note. An athletic and talented Needham club outplayed and outmatched the Boys’ Soccer team.

Although the Lions failed to achieve their goal of qualifying for the state tournament, they certainly improved dramatically from their one-win season in 2008. “It wasn’t just wins; we were more of a team, Casler said of the team’s progress. “Coach Conte promoted positive reinforcement which really helped us.

With high-level players such as Bulka returning for the 2010 campaign, the Lions look poised for another attempt at a tournament bid.

“Eitan is a special player, there’s no doubt about that, Garrity said. “Once he really focuses on the game and drowns out his off-the-field issues, he could show how special he really is.

This year’s Lions showed that they needed no courage this season, and although they came up short, they came together at crucial times and gave South “Super-Fans someone to root for.

Another year to acclimate to Conte’s system, combined with the sophomores’ and juniors’ further maturation, will only bring the program closer to the state tournament.

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Bench warmers: Weathering the uphill battle http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/10/21/bench-warmers-weathering-the-uphill-battle/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/10/21/bench-warmers-weathering-the-uphill-battle/#comments Wed, 21 Oct 2009 04:37:28 +0000 Nick Sobel http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=2970 Exhausted. That’s how I felt as I climbed submissively onto a school bus in Bedford after another long, hard-fought game by the freshman basketball team.

Despite my exhaustion, I felt no sense of achievement, no sense of sacrifice. I felt no pride when we won the game on a late 10-0 run in overtime. In fact, I felt as though I were hardly on the team at all.

The reason for these feelings had nothing to do with a self-imposed feeling of inadequacy due to the subconscious workings of my teenage brain. The reason I felt this disconnect between my teammates and myself was because I was a bench player. I had thrown everything I had into this experience and was not being rewarded accordingly.

I had tried out for the team on a whim. I played basketball both in school and for travel teams throughout middle school, but I had come to accept that that would probably be the full extent of my career.

After playing a few pick up games with friends late in the summer, I had decided that I might as well try out. What could go wrong?

Needless to say, I ended up making the team. At first, I felt badly about taking spots from kids I thought might have wanted it more. This quickly subsided as I realized that I was out of my league and would have to focus much more playing on a team with so many great players.
As the season began, all of us on the team started to understand our roles more and more. I started to realize that on this team, my minutes of playing time would be few and far between.

I started to ask myself whether it was worthwhile to spend two and a half hours every day at practice. It was exhausting. I had practice from 5:00 to 7:30 every day and usually didn’t get to bed until midnight.

The lack of sleep combined with the lack of achievement made me irritable. I had no time to spend with friends and had nothing to show for it. By the time the season was over, I wasn’t exactly jumping at the opportunity of doing it all again the next season.

A common misconception about bench players is that they are less committed to the team. A lot of them make excuses to skip practice, complain about their playing time, or generally detract from everyone else’s experience.

One thing that is often overlooked by those who criticize these behaviors, is that the commitment required to swallow one’s pride and accept the consequences is far greater than that of the star athlete for whom everything comes easily.

Senior Greg Gruener said it best: “It just sucks when the coach brings you on, and you show up expecting to play, but you’re overlooked without being given a chance to prove yourself.

To fight an uphill battle, day in, day out, is one of the greatest commitments one can make.

Sometimes, however, players are motivated to raise their games when they are sat down on the bench. Senior Gabe Feldstein is an example of how the pressure to perform can force a player to raise his or her game.

“When I started out on the bench as a freshman, I had to put in a lot of hard work to get the opportunity to start. That hard work is something that makes everything I do now more special.

Success stories like these, unfortunately, are uncommon. With the decrease in self confidence brought on by time on the bench, it is very difficult for some kids to look at their situations positively.

Although bench players are often inexperienced and ineffective, their efforts should at least be admired and appreciated.

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Girls’ Volleyball Team serves up serious competition http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/09/30/girls%e2%80%99-volleyball-team-serves-up-serious-competition/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/09/30/girls%e2%80%99-volleyball-team-serves-up-serious-competition/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2009 08:51:21 +0000 Nick Sobel http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=2652 After what Coach Todd Elwell called “a Cinderella season, the Girls’ Volleyball Team is back to try and improve on last year’s sectional finals appearance.

With eight seniors leading the charge this year, the Lions have already started to turn some heads thanks to a successful record, including an early season five-set win on the road against the perennial powerhouse Lincoln-Sudbury.

Although Elwell maintains that, “how we finish is more important than how we start, he did admit, “to go to [Lincoln-Sudbury's] house early in the season and beat them in a five-set match is huge.

Downing powerhouse programs is nothing new for these Lions. During last season’s playoffs, the girls ventured to North Quincy, and beat a well-established program on its home court.

Wins like this have helped the program grow and mature, gaining them respect from spectators, opposing coaches and players, and friends. This respect has resulted in an increase in the size of the crowds that the girls play for.

“A few years ago, we could only hope to have 50 people watching our home opener, Elwell said. “This year we had about 150 people there. And that was the opener. If the winning continues, the crowds will only grow.

Much of the team’s success up to this point this year can be attributed to the great leadership the Lions have on the court this year. Senior captains Vanessa Gaillius and Celina Chan bring considerable experience and ability to the team.

With this experience comes the ability to stay focused even under duress, like in front of an adverse Lincoln-Sudbury crowd.

The Lions have a lot of hard work ahead of them, but they are poised to make a real standing in the Dual County League (DCL).

Last season, Girls’ Volleyball reached the sectional finals of the state tournament. Because of this, expectations for the team have been raised from last year.

“Last year we flew under the radar, allowing us to beat some really solid, established programs, Elwell said when asked to compare this year’s team to last year’s. “This year, we won’t be sneaking up on anybody. Luckily, this year’s team is the best I’ve had in a decade¦ If there were a year to make a run, this would be it.

With all these expectations, the Lions have a few goals for the season. At this point, they are taking aim at both a DCL title and a Sectional Championship. If they maintain their current high level of play, no one will rule them out.

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