Athlete Spotlight: Lior Givol #0
The FlameThrowers climbed to the top of the Western Conference last weekend thanks to a dominant road trip performance. This rookie defenseman was a key contributor to the team’s success against the Los Angeles Aviators.
Almost halfway through the regular season, the San Jose Spiders and the San Francisco FlameThrowers both sit at 4-1 – with their only losses coming at the hands of each other. One aspect of this complicated rivalry that brings an interesting dynamic is the fact that so many of each team’s key players have previously competed with the other team. Beau Kittredge, Cassidy Rasmussen, Sonny Zaccarro, and more have made the switch from one Bay Area team to another.
One such player is defensive handler Lior Givol, who competed with the Spiders last season and is now a part of the FlameThrowers squad. After his dominant performance against the Aviators, he has been chosen as the spotlight athlete of the week. Givol posted a perfect passing and catching percentage in Los Angeles, and had the fifth highest overall rating on the team with a +4. He also threw an assist, but most importantly he led the team defensively by earning three blocks in the hard-fought battle.
Givol grew up in Sherman Oaks but now lives in San Francisco. He learned to play ultimate with current FlameThrowers captain Greg Cohen at URJ Camp Newman and then joined the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs during his freshman year. Outside of his degree in Business Management Economics, he found the time to train hard and his leadership at practice led to his nomination as team captain for his senior year. Over his four years with the team, his ultimate abilities drastically improved and outside of the college scene he went from competing with club team Boost to placing second at club nationals with elite open team Revolver.
As a handler, Givol’s favorite throw is the no look backward scoober (although he qualifies this statement with the fact that it’s not quite game ready just yet). When asked why he chose the number zero for his jersey, he answered that “something about it screams competitor. I pride myself on working as hard as I can on each point I play, and zero encompasses that effort. I love the challenge of an uphill battle and try to play with pride and humility every time I’m on the field.”
Givol’s favorite sports team is the Los Angeles Lakers, and in his free time he loves to travel. When asked what he wanted to tell his fans, he responded, “for those young players that have aspirations to compete at the next level down the road, understand that with hard work you can get there. Ultimate is an interesting mix of discipline, strategy, and athleticism so no matter your physical stature, the sky is the limit.”
This year’s FlameThrowers roster has helped Givol set the bar even higher for himself. “From coaches to teammates, everyone is committed to improvement at the team and individual level,” he explained. “This type of growth mindset is definitely important moving into the second half of the season.” He continued to praise the team effort, adding, “we’ve done a lot of learning this first part of the season – figuring out what is and isn’t working and really building some chemistry as a team. Lucas Dallmann put it pretty well last weekend when he said that just because all of our names are on a roster doesn’t mean we are a team in every sense of the word. It takes time to build chemistry and you need to play some games before you can create incredible moments that really connect and fire everyone up.”
A few moments stick out in the rookie’s mind as some of the best yet this season. The most notable of these include “Kevin Cocks’ crazy layout point block two weeks ago and Antoine making some awesome plays in the air.” He credits those moments as the ones that help bond the team and motivate them going forward, and predicts that many more great moments like those will be made during the second half of the season. Givol is particularly looking forward to the game in Toronto against the Rush, since he expects a large fan turnout for the home team and is excited about being a part of the AUDL’s first season with cross-divisional games.
When looking ahead to that game, one thing is clear – the FlameThrowers will have to continue relying on their defense, which many believe to be their greatest strength this season. “Our defensive line has been so effective recently because of patience and tight handler defense. Early in the season we were producing a lot of blocks, but were not converting as efficiently as we wanted,” says Givol. “Recently we’ve done a good job of slowing our game down and taking smarter shots. Aside from that, strong handler defense has given us the disc closer to the end zone, where our offensive defense thrives.”
If their record is any indication, the team is going to put up an amazing fight this upcoming weekend when they face perhaps their greatest challenge to date: the Seattle Cascades. The Cascades have only lost two game so far this season: one was a single point loss to the San Jose Spiders that was decided by a last-second buzzer-beater, and the other came at the hands of the mixed FlameThrowers team during the Cascades Cup. A second victory over the Cascades would help the FlameThrowers hold on to first place and further improve their chances of making the playoffs, but it won’t be easy.
Come watch Givol and the FlameThrowers take on the Seattle Cascades this Saturday! Tickets are 50% off for Mother’s Day when you use code UltimateWomen at checkout. Buy them here today!
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