Yeshiva University Athletics Department Celebrates the Student-Athletes at In-Person Awards Dinner

yu athletics awards
Hannah Aaron and Michael Stark

By Anthony O’Hagan
Sports Information Director
YU Athletics

The Yeshiva University Athletics Department held its annual awards dinner, inside the gym at Max Stern Athletic Center, on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. It was the first in-person awards ceremony since 2019 as the last two years were conducted via Zoom. YU student-athletes, coaches, team managers, and members of the athletics administration took part in the festivities.

Co-Presidents of the Yeshiva University Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, sophomore Hannah Aaron and senior Michael Stark, delivered opening remarks. Yeshiva University Athletics Director Greg Fox officially welcomed everyone to the awards dinner.  Several student-athletes announced the winners of the Coach’s Awards. There were also several major, graduating, and special recognition awards that were presented by different speakers, including former Director of Athletics and current Associate Dean of Students Joe Bednarsh, as well as Faculty Athletic Representatives Jon Green and Robert Russell. Fox delivered the closing remarks.

This was another successful year in Yeshiva Athletics. Thank you to the Yeshiva Athletics administrators, athletics trainers, and the YU medical experts for doing all that they did to provide our student-athletes with the opportunity to be able to practice and participate in athletics events, as well as making this year a memorable one for them with great experiences and unforgettable moments on and off the field of play.

Eight teams reached its sport’s championship event or playoffs. The men’s basketball team won the Skyline Conference Championship for the second year in a row, and third in the last four seasons, to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Maccabees earned a No. 1 national ranking on the D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll and rode a 50-game winning streak. Senior Ryan Turell and graduate student Gabriel Leifer earned several major awards, including the former being selected as the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) NCAA Division III National Player of the Year and the latter being named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America First Team for the second consecutive year. Elliot Steinmetz was named the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association NCAA Division III Men’s Coach of the Year for the third straight season.

The men’s soccer team qualified for the Skyline Conference Championships. In the first round of the tournament, YU rallied from two goals down to tie the match and then outlasted Farmingdale State College in penalty kicks to earn the program’s first ever berth in the semifinal round of the Skyline Conference Championships. Junior Ethan Fettaya earned a spot on the All-Skyline first team, while rookie sensation Lucas Baredes was selected to the All-Skyline second team.

The men’s tennis team knocked off the previous year’s Skyline Champions, Farmingdale State College, in the semifinal round of the conference championships, to earn a berth in the league title match for the seventh time in the last eight completed seasons. Graduate student Tomer Mendler was named to the All-Skyline first team, while seniors Aaron Cohen and Leon Bassan earned All-Skyline second team honors. Jon Rubinstein was selected as the Skyline Co-Coach of the Year, the third major conference coaching award of his tenure at YU.

The golf team earned a share of the bronze at the Skyline Conference Championship. Cohen was once again named to the All-Skyline team.

Seniors Zaelig Averch and Joshua Polster, of the Yeshiva University men’s fencing team, both qualified for the NCAA Northeast Regional, with the former earning the honor for the third time in his collegiate career and the latter making his fourth appearance in the prestigious event. Averch earned silver in the individual epee standings at the 2021-22 Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Fencing Association (MACFA) Championships.

For women’s fencing, senior Ruth Lando was named an Eastern Women’s Fencing Conference (EWFC) Woman of the Year Honorable Mention. Junior Shaina Matveev was selected to the EWFC All-Academic Team, while classmate Leorah Lalezari earned a spot on the National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Association (NIWFA) All-Academic Team.

The men’s cross country team finished third overall at the Skyline Championships. Junior Marshall Northman was bestowed All-Skyline first team accolades after he earned fifth overall in the 8k race at the league championships. The Shaker Heights native helped the Maccabees win the Mount Saint Mary College (N.Y.) XC Series by being the first runner to cross the finish line with a 5k time of 17:15.

Also at the conference championships, the women’s cross country team earned a top five finish. Senior Estee Brooks was selected to the All-Skyline second team after finishing 12th overall in the league’s championship 6k race.

The women’s basketball team won eight games this year, including two overtime thrillers. Junior Yuval Nitzan set a program single-game record with 41 points in YU’s Skyline win at Farmingdale State College.

Here is a list of our award winners for the 2021-22 season. 

Coach’s Awards

Baseball Joshua Mintz
Men’s Basketball Max Leibowitz
Women’s Basketball Shai Rahamim
Men’s Cross Country Aaron Purow
Women’s Cross Country Estee Brooks
Men’s Foil Fencing Brian Bendel
Men’s Epee Fencing Joshua Polster
Men’s Sabre Fencing Edward Shindleman
Women’s Epee Fencing Julia Polster
Women’s Foil Fencing Ruth Lando
Women’s Sabre Fencing  Leorah Lalezari
Men’s Soccer Jess Rom
Women’s Soccer Dafna Levine
Softball Yael Dannenbaum
Men’s Tennis Eitan Jeselsohn
Women’s Tennis Tali Kletnicki
Men’s Volleyball Shmuel Aberman
Women’s Volleyball Hannah Aaron
Golf Zachary Perl

Special Awards

The Bernard “Red” Sarachek Award: Aryeh Halpert

The Arthur D. Tauber Award: Zaelig Averch

The Stanley Watson Award: Marshall Northman

Graduation Awards

The Aaron Meyer Memorial Award
In recognition of selfless dedication to the athletics program
Presented to
Michael Stark
(Men’s Volleyball)

The Norman Palefski Memorial Award
Presented to
Joshua Polster (Men’s Fencing) as the most outstanding Yeshiva University graduating male scholar-athlete.

The SCW/SSSB Merit Award
Presented to
Dafna Levine (Women’s Soccer) as the most outstanding Yeshiva University graduating female scholar-athlete.

Male Graduating Student-Athlete of the Year (Individual Sports)
Presented to
Zaelig Averch
Men’s Fencing

Female Graduating Student-Athlete of the Year (Individual Sports)
Presented to
Estee Brooks
Women’s Tennis

Male Graduating Student-Athlete of the Year (Team Sports)
Presented to
Ryan Turell
Men’s Basketball

Female Graduating Student-Athlete of the Year (Team Sports)
Presented to
Ruth Lando
Women’s Soccer

Special Recognition Award
Presented to
Akiva Poppers
Executive Producer of MacsLive