Lady Lions volleyball team soars to finals


Freshman helps make SDJA sports history

The San Diego Jewish Academy in Carmel Valley has never gone to the finals in any CIF sports playoffs - until this year.

SDJA lady Lions girls volleyball team (7-3, 7-1), with fantastic freshman Gabriela “Gabbi” Rothman, won the Citrus West League and made it all the way to the CIF Div. 5 finals before losing to the Tri-City Christian Lady Eagles.

SDJA first-year head volleyball coach Melissa Maxwell has turned the program around this year from last place to first. The Jewish Academy this season had more wins than the entire last three years combined.

“Its amazing what Gabbi did this season,” Maxwell said. “Gabbi brought a different type of player commitment you don’t see from your typical freshman.”

Rothman, a15-year-old La Jolla native, only started playing volleyball in the eighth grade.

“The sky is the limit for Gabbi and our young team,” Maxwell added. “We only have two seniors. Gabbi and our team have taken huge steps this year and we will have many great seasons to come.”

Rothman said her father Abraham “Abe” Rothman was a professional soccer player in Bolivia.

“I started playing sports, especially soccer, when I was six years old,” she said.

“As a freshman, Gabbi has accomplished so much,” Athletic Director Charlie Wund said. “Her athletic ability is phenomenal. And her progression is only going to get better.”

Wund believes Rothman and the team have forced other teams at the academy competing in the CIF to set new goals.

“Gabbi and her teammates will continue making great strides in Div. 5 volleyball,” he said.

Rothman has recently shifted back to her roots and is using more of her feet and less of her hands now. She recently joined the girls’ varsity soccer team at SDJA.

But Rothman remains outstanding in volleyball. Her first season statistics show 102 kills, 72 service points - including an outstanding 27 aces from her incredible jump serve - 185 digs, and 115 assists.

Now that the varsity volleyball season is over, Rothman plays club volleyball with Coast Team 15U out of Del Mar.