Aviel Gridish, Lishay Halali Named Goalies of the Year

ASHKELON, ISRAEL – The Israel Lacrosse Association has honored Aviel Gridish and Lishay Halali, naming them the Goalies of the Year. This award is to recognize and honor two goalies who have gone above and beyond for Israel and Israel Lacrosse. Both awards are intended to recognize goalies who have made a lasting impact on Israel Lacrosse in 2022.

Aviel Gridish, who has been a pillar of the Netanya lacrosse program, is the winner of the 2022 Howard “Cookie” Krongard Most Outstanding Men’s Goalie award. Aviel grew up playing for Kfar Yona and now plays for both Netanya LC and the U21 National Team. Over the last four years, Gridish has developed into an incredibly impactful player and now at the age of 17 is a true rising star. Even as a young and talented player, he continues to push himself towards excellence while taking every possible opportunity to elevate those around him.

“When I think of Aviel and coaching him in Ireland the word I keep coming back to is dedication. I see Aviel dedicated in two ways- he’s deeply dedicated to his craft, his position as a goalie, how he needs to become better at his position. He’s also incredibly devoted to his teammates and Israel Lacrosse as a whole” says Ian Kadish, Executive Director/U21 National Team Coach.

Gridish is a role model and dedicated athlete who commits to going the extra mile, even when no one is watching. He’s motivated to improve both on and off the field and inspires others to do the same. In addition to his personal success, Aviel is also dedicated to helping the sport grow and has taken on the responsibility of becoming a great coach and leader for the Netanya U15 team. His commitment to the success of his players is evident in everything he does.

When the pandemic hit, Gridish made the most of his time away from his teammates and began to work on himself. Putting in extra time training at home, he focused on improving during a difficult time. His dedication and determination to improve has solidified him as the top goalie in Israel and earned himself a spot on the 2022 U21 National Team. When practice resumed and he was able to take the field with his teammates, it was obvious that the time he put into his game paid off. He has continued to stay motivated all year round setting the standard of what it means to be the best.

“Aviel does not speak often but you can count on him to work harder than everyone else around him. He is always observing the game, working on himself as a player and a coach so that he can provide what is best for his teammates, players, and the ILA” says Kadish. Aviel is a leader and someone that people are constantly looking up to. Although he might not be the most vocal leader, his work ethic and leadership on and off the field are what make him this years Most Outstanding Men’s Goalie.

Howard “Cookie” Krongard played on Princeton’s undefeated Ivy League championship teams from 1959-1961. He earned the first-team All-American honors in 1961, was selected as the USCLA’s Player of the Year in both 1968 and 1974, voted USILA Man of the Year in 1983, and was inducted into the U.S. National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and the New York Sports Hall of Fame.

Lishay Halali, a native of Sha’ar HaNegev is the recipient of the 2022 Alex Freedman and Family Most Outstanding Women’s Goalie award. A member of LSH (Lacrosse Sha’ar HaNegev), Lishay has become a key player of LSH over the past three years at age 15. Her talents have not gone unnoticed as she has been frequently called up to practice with the women’s national team.

Lishay Halali – Sha’ar Hanegev Lacrosse

What separates Halali is her dedication to the sport and her love for her teammates. Halali is a passionate athlete who is committed to her sport and values the relationships she has with her teammates. Her dedication and love for lacrosse have helped her become a successful athlete, that has the motivation to put in the work and effort needed to improve as a player.

As the captain of LSH, she has proven herself as a leader of her team and someone that her teammates look up to. She is constantly putting in extra work before and after practice to not only work on herself but also step in the goal so her teammates can improve their shooting. What makes Halali special is her love, passion, and commitment to lacrosse. She continues to show up at every opportunity to improve herself.

Since starting lacrosse three years ago, Halali has grown on and off the field. She has worked on becoming a vocal leader and establishing herself as an anchor for a strong and cohesive defense. At the age of 15, she is developing into one of Israel’s best women’s goalies.

“Lishay is a player any coach would love to work with. Her positive attitude keeps her focused on the field and lifts her teammates on and off it. She works hard, always looks to learn, and inspires her teammates to challenge themselves as well” says Amit Burstein, Head Coach of Be’er Tuvia.

Halili has also competed in Kids Olympics at Wingate institute of sports, Women’s Israel Premier Lacrosse League (WIPLL) in 2022, and Hanukkah 8’s tournament in 2022. “It is obvious that she has a lot of love for this game and the sky is the limit for her”, says Burstein.

Alex Freedman is one of the pioneering forces behind Israel women’s lacrosse. She served as head coach of Israel’s U-19 team that competed at the World Championships in Peterborough, Canada, earning a #13 world ranking. In 2018 she made Aliyah and moved to Israel where she spent her time coaching and growing lacrosse throughout the country. She played an instrumental role in Israel’s ability to host the 2018 Men’s World Championships, helping to coordinate the interns, run gear tables, and help facilitate the game day experience for the visiting teams. She competed for the blue-and-white on the 2019 Women’s European Championship team and the 2017 Women’s Lacrosse World Cup team. Her efforts to grow lacrosse globally do not stop there as she continues representing Israel as the current Director of Women’s National Teams and International Relations.