Hapoel Kiryat Ata took a State Cup double yesterday, as both its men's and its women's teams lifted the trophy.
Kiryat Ata's women's team has dominated the game for years, but the men's victory marked an end, at least for now, to the hegemony of Mateh Asher.
The more interesting of the finals held in Nahariya yesterday was the men's. Before yesterday, Kiryat Ata had won the trophy twice - in 1979 and 1980. Its opponent, Mateh Asher, had won the title five times and was bidding for a third successive trophy.
But Mateh Asher's current season has been defined by the club as a "financial season," whereas Kiryat Ata has built up a team that is considered a worthy contender for the league championship: It brought on board both Mateh Asher's coach, Avishai Karpovski, and its captain, Idan Cohen, and they, together with veteran stars like Alejandro Sa'adia, sent Kiryat Ata into the game as the favorite.
Kiryat Ata took a 22-18 lead in the first set, and though Mateh Asher then fought back with five straight points, Kiryat Ata took the set 26-24. It dominated the second set, winning 25-15, and thought it had the game in the bag.
But its celebrations proved premature, and Mateh Asher bounced back to take the third set 25-18. However, Kiryat Ata took the fourth set 25-18 to wrap up a 3-1 win and take its first trophy in 24 years.
Things were much easier for Kiryat Ata's women, who for several years have been in a league of their own. The team downed Hapoel Emek Hayarden 3-0 in only 75 minutes to take its third cup title on the trot.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now