Phenomenal players make for exceptional teams

Mutnick PHOTO
Written by Elana Mutnick 

The USA Open Women’s Basketball team faces off against Israel Sunday, July 17th in their first game for the Maccabiah. This is a highly anticipated game for head coach Sherry Levin who said she is confident in her team’s ability to win. 

“We’ve been working hard. We know what our mission is. We know what our goal is,” said Levin, who is coaching in her fifth Maccabiah.

The condensed training time is different from the typical season that these collegiate athletes are used to, but the team has quickly adapted to unite under one common goal: taking home the gold.

“I’m coaching them each as an individual to be as successful and the best version of themselves. Then collectively, we want to be the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be,” Levin said.

Levin said she finds it fascinating that there’s no one to scout during the Maccabiah, and each team is forced to go in blind. Levin’s skillful crew brings experience and leadership with them that will allow them to adjust to their opponents dynamic if need be, she said.  

“The things that we work on every day are really not the big picture. Now we’re starting to fine tune. We put things in, we bathed them in and now it’s a matter of getting better,” Levin said. 

For a few of the girls on the team, this isn’t the first time their names have been together on a roster. Good friends Madeline Plank and Abby Meyers played together at Princeton University. The duo has shared the court several times with now-teammate Tess Sussman, who played for Harvard University. 

“It’s not so much that they’re Ivy Leaguers. I think it’s that they’re friends, and now they’re family. Now we’re a community,” Levin said, referring to Abby and Madeline.

Adara Groman, Sophie Gerber and Jaclyn Feit were also already connected, and they took home the gold under coach Levin in Budapest in 2019 for the Maccabi Games. 

Levin said she and Groman are “travel buddies.” Groman played under Levin for three years at Worcester Academy, a preparatory school in Massachusetts, then in Budapest, at the 2019 European Maccabi Games, and now in Israel. 

Levin said that even though she is coaching a few of them again, it is still an entirely different experience. Being in Israel and getting to appreciate the monumental sights while mentoring her team on skills for both on and off the court is invaluable, according to Levin.

“I think the personal satisfaction that I get out of coaching is not just the winning, that’s just the byproduct of what I do,” Levin said.

Elana Mutnick is a New Jersey native and a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland. Follow her on twitter (@ElanaMutnick_) and check out her website (https://elanamutnick.com/)

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