TIB Newsletters

March 2013 TIB Newsletter

Dan Aronovic - Friday, April 12, 2013

                Athlete Spotlight  

Liat Zimmerman - Rice University


The 27th ranked Rice women's tennis team used a late surge in doubles and three singles wins over nationally-ranked opponents to grind out a 5-2 win over 33rd ranked TCU at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Owls (13-4) handed the Horned Frogs (12-2) only their second loss of the season, but needed over four hours to earn their eighth consecutive victory of the year while both teams battled gusty winds.

"What a great college tennis match," Rice head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said. "I could not say enough about the fight that our team showed today. We fought from first point to last point through a 4 ½ hour fight. We kept coming back and coming back and I am really proud of the team for what they did today."

Rice sprinted to a 3-0 lead after capturing the doubles point and picking up quick wins byNatalie Beazant on the stadium court and Katie Gater on Court 4. Beazant, who entered the weekend ranked 59th, defeated 79th ranked Olivia Smith, butt after the Horned Frogs trimmed the lead to 3-2 with wins on Courts 5 and 6, the Owls would need a second win over TCU's trio of nationally ranked singles players to clinch the win. 

Both Harmath and Liat Zimmermann opened by winning their first sets against #65 Stefanie Tan and #104 Simona Parajova, but saw their tie things up and send the match into its fourth hour with third sets.

Zimmermann raced to a 4-1 lead over Parajova on Court 3 and then withstood a late challenge to deliver the clinching victory, while Harmath rallied from a 4-2 deficit against Tan to win in a tiebreaker and round out the scoring.


Who We Are:

Ross Greenstein, Scholarship for Athletes President and Founder of The Israel Bridge

Dan Aronovic, Head of Operations, The Israel Bridge

Our Vision:
The Israel Bridge will work to be the largest resource for connecting and developing relationships between Israelis and Americans.

Current activities:
Finding athletic scholarships for deserving Israeli athletes in the US and assisting them while they live in the US. We have placed over 80 athletes in the US attending schools like Ohio State, UCLA, Northwestern, UNLV, Arizona, Duke, Tulane, Temple, the University of San Francisco and many others.

Visit our website for more info:




   Dor Amir - NIU         Gleb Sklyr, Marquette

 Two Israelis in NIU - Marquette Tennis Action 

March 8, 2013

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – For the first time-ever under Head Coach Patrick Fisher, the Northern Illinois men’s tennis team defeated Marquette, 4-3. The Huskies improved to 9-4 with the win to open their spring break, 1-0. It was notable that the match featured two Israelis, Dor Amir of Northern Illinois and Gleb Sklyr of Marquette.

“I am really proud of our Huskies,” said Fisher, “we hunted in a pack and stayed together all night. For that are reward is a BCS win. Our program continues to smash records and make great history, but that’s what it is now – history. It's great we accomplished it but we still need to improve on the two areas we have been talking about all season – doubles and lower half of the line-up.”

With wins by Dor Amir and Axel Lagerlof, and Frederic Cadieux and Jovan Zeljkovic at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles, respectively, the Huskies clinched the early point in the match. Both pairs won convincingly in their matches as Amir and Lagerlof won, 8-3, and Cadieux and Zeljkovic won, 8-4.

In singles play, Amir and Cadieux won again to give Northern Illinois three points in the match. Amir defeated Vukasin Teofanovic, 6-4, 7-6, while Cadieux grinded out his match against Logon Collins in three sets, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.   Gleb Sklyr added a point for Marquette with a win at no. 3 singles.

Northern Illinois defeated the Marquette Golden Eagles for the first time since at least 2006 with its 4-3 victory.



            Laetitia Beck - Duke University

DURHAM, N.C.-  Coming off two third place finishes to open the spring campaign, the Duke women’s golf team remained No. 3 in the latest Golf World/WGCA Division I College Women’s Coaches Poll released on Wednesday.  

Taking the top slot was Southern California, while Alabama, Duke, North Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, Washington, Arkansas, Arizona and Vanderbilt rounded out the top 10 teams.  The Blue Devils received one first place vote out of 24 available.

Duke turned in third place finishes at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge and the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate, which featured some of the top teams in the nation.  The Blue Devils were only three shots off the team lead this past week at the Sugar Bowl led by junior Laetitia Beck, junior Alejandra Cangrejo and senior Lindy Duncan.  The trio finished in the top 20 of the event.

Beck, who is out of Caesarea, Israel, has totaled back-to-back top 20 finishes and is coming off placing tied for eighth at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate with rounds of 72 over the two days of action.  It marked her first top 10 finish of the season.  Beck led the individual portion of the vent through 30 holes of the tournament before falling off the lead late.



       Fahoum Fahoum, Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac Men’s Tennis Tops Jackson State University, 5-2

  • ORLANDO, Fla. – The Quinnipiac University men's tennis team battled back from a 1-0 deficit on Monday afternoon and defeated Jackson State University, 5-2, in the first game of the Bobcats spring break trip in Orlando, Fla. Quinnipiac won five matches in singles, including three win in a deciding set, to improve to 3-5 on the season.

Sebastian Barbero (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and Garrett Lane (Reading, Mass.) fared well for the Q in doubles, cruising to an 8-1 victory at No. 3. However, the Tigers' top-two pairs outlasted the Bobcats at No. 1 and No. 2 and took an early lead with the point.

As they have done all season long, the Bobcats answered with a strong showing in singles competition.Fahoum Fahoum (Haifa, Israel) earned Quinnipiac's first point with a 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 2; Eric Ambrosio (Lloyd Harbor, N.Y.) earned his 40th career win with a 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 3; Luke Roser (Bernardsville, N.J.) defeated Jose Luque, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 11-9, at No. 4; Lane battled back for a 1-6, 7-5, 10-5 win at No. 5; and Chris Nelson (Scituate, Mass.) picked up career win No. 51 with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Marko Milosavljevic at No. 6. 


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                           Alon Leishman - Cypress College

Beyond Left Field with Norm: Alon Leichman

Alon Leichman’s (pronounced Alone) dreams are like those of millions of other kids.  To warm up in the bullpen deep in right field at Yankee Stadium, get the call, and jog out to the mound in the Bronx.  Unlike most other 20-year olds, though, Alon has a spent a lifetime building his own baseball dreams. Alon was born and raised in Kibbutz Gezer, in Israel.  The youngest of three children, Alon looked up to his older brother’s baseball playing, although it was 

soon obvious who the better ballplayer was.  Alon’s dad played softball for decades (and continues to play), and Alon would watch him play at Gezer’s Hombo field.  Soon, Alon was old enough to play on the Gezer field, one of the few real diamonds in Israel, and from an early age, his star shone bright. 

At 10, he made the Israel Juvenile National team, and traveled to Holland for his first taste of international competition.  Two seasons later, he was in Poland, followed by international competitions in Italy, Czech Republic, Croatia, and Israel.

It was in Croatia where Alon had perhaps his greatest game ever.  Starting for Israel in the 2008 European Qualifier, Alon pitched eight innings, giving up only two earned runs while striking out nine.  Unfortunately for Alon, Ernesto Pereira held Israel to just one run that day, pinning the loss on the young Leichman. Alon’s love of the game couldn’t be diminished by that loss.  The man who says he loves just standing on that field, holding the ball in his hand, has impressed fans and observers in both Europe and the United States.  He pitched at the MLB European Academy, and while his fastball tops out at 88 MPH, scouts were impressed with his control, movement, and his ability to change speeds. (courtesy of www.israelbaseball.org)

Alon, thanks for taking the time. Who were your influences growing up?

Have to say that my family was a big influence on me. I looked up to my big brother a lot. He taught me never to quit when things are tough.

Derek Jeter was a big influence as well. I loved watching him play and tried to copy every move he made.

Where are you playing and how’s the season been so far?

I play for Cypress College in Orange County. This will be my last semester here before I transfer out to a four year university. Season is going well so far we are currently on a 6 game winning streak heading into conference play.

What’s the difference between playing in the US compared to Israel or other places in the World?

Playing in the US is very different than in Israel. Here in the US the level is definitely higher but the love for the game is not the same as back home in Israel and Europe.

What was it like playing for Brad Ausmus, Shawn Green, Gabe Kapler, and Andrew Lorraine? What did you take away from your WBC (World Baseball Classic) experience?    (Ed. note:  Israel lost to Spain in the final qualifying round in 2012 for the 2013 WBC tournament.)

Playing for all these great guys and coaches was an eye opening experience for me. It was the first time that I got to taste how the pros go about things. I loved it. Learned a lot from just being around them and I want to thank them for that.

As for the WBC  experience it ended with a bitter taste for us but it was by far the best two weeks of my life. I want to be back there in 2017.

You spent three years in the military? How has that experience helped you on the baseball diamond? 

I think it made me appreciate the game much more. It made me pay attention to all my weaknesses and try and fix them.

Let’s look down the road. Where do you see baseball in Israel in 2017? Does Israel qualify for the WBC? 

Baseball is heading in the right direction and with all the new people getting involved I see a bright future. I think that it is a great chance that Israel will compete in the 2017 WBC. Hopefully we get some of the coaches and players back and qualify.

What advice would you give to the younger players?

I was fortunate to have great guidance along the way and I try to pass along what I’ve learned to the kids. That is to work hard for what you love. Don’t let people with negative thoughts effect you and believe in your way. Don’t quit when times are hard. Stick to the process.

Alon, Good luck this season. Thanks for taking the time. Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you for having me. You guys have a nice thing going and good luck to you guys as well.



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Naama Shafir Named Regional Finalist for WBCA Coaches All-America Team

TOLEDO, OH - Senior Naama Shafir has been selected as one of 52 regional finalists for the 2013 WBCA Coaches' All-America Team for NCAA Division I. Shafir is earning this prestigious postseason accolade for a second time in the last three seasons. She is also the second UT player to be honored by the WBCA, as Tanika Mays was also a regional honoree in 2009-10.

The selection committee uses an equation to determine a fair number of nominees from each region. The number of Division I institutions in each region is divided by the number of Division I institutions overall to determine a percentage for each region. This percentage is then multiplied by 52 (the total number of desired finalists) to get the number of finalists for each region.

The 2013 WBCA Division I Coaches' All-America 10-member team will be announced on Saturday, April 6 at 1:10 p.m. (CT) during the NCAA® Women's Final Four® Super Saturday festivities in New Orleans Arena.

Shafir is one of four student-athletes recognized from Region 4. The four-time All-Mid-American Conference recipient is joined by fellow league players Crystal Bradford from Central Michigan and Courtney Osborn from Miami. Also representing Region 4 is Jerica Coley from Florida International, Ebony Rowe from Middle Tennessee State and Keena Mays from Southern Methodist.

Shafir is currently averaging a squad-best 12.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, a team-high 4.7 assists and 1.8 steals in 29.9 minutes per game. The 2012-13 first-team All-MAC honoree ranks third in the league in assist/turnover ratio (1.8) and helpers, fourth in free throw percentage (79.8%, 87-of-109), eighth in scoring, 12th in three-point field goal percentage (33.6%, 36-of-107) and thefts and tied for 13th in three-point field goals made (1.2).

The Hoshaya, Israel native has produced double-figure points a squad-best 22 times in 2012-13, including a season-best 29 points at Central Michigan on Feb. 24. Shafir has also poured in at least 20 points on four occasions this season.

In MAC contests, Shafir tallied a team-high 12.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, a squad-best 4.4 apg and 1.8 spg in 29.9 mpg.

Earlier this season, the runner-up for MAC Player of the Year became UT's all-time assist leader against Ohio on Jan. 31, passing Dana Drew (659, 1990-95).


                                      Idan Mark, Tulane University

March 24, 2013

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - There are not many better ways for the Tulane men's tennis team to open a three-match road swing through California than a earning a hard fought 4-3 victory at No. 67 Cal Poly on Sunday afternoon at the Mustang Courts.

The Green Wave (11-4) won for the seventh straight outing and once again took the doubles point, while Idan Mark (Hod Hasharon, Israel), Rodrigo Rappaccioli and Adam Bernstein each grabbed singles victories.

"This was another great win or our program over a highly ranked team and to get it done on the road makes it even better," Tulane head coachMark Booras said. "Doubles started out solid again and we were able to get a quick 1-0 jump on them. Then Adam and Rod came through with a couple of quick points to give us a bigger lead. But we clearly weren't out of the water yet as they stormed back with 3 points of their own to tie it up."

The Green Wave took the doubles point with wins on courts one and three. The duo of Idan Mark and Dominik Koepfer improved to 10-2 this spring with an 8-6 victory over Cal Poly's (7-5) pair of Andre Dome and Jordan Bridge on court one. Joe Young and Ian Van Cott defeated Naveen Beasley and Derek Klein, 8-6, on court three.

Bernstein and Rappaccioli earned the second and third points for Tulane on the singles courts. Bernstein got past Matt Thompson, 6-2, 6-3, on court six, while Rappaccioli defeated Derek Klein, 6-1, 6-2, on court four to put the Green Wave a 3-1 lead. 

Mark clinched the win for Tulane with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, victory over Jordan Bridge on court two.

"Idan had a great comeback," Booras said. "It was a huge turn around for him and shows his toughness to be able to comeback under so much pressure."


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