COLUMBUS, Ohio–A pair of Buckeye juniors, Genna Brand and Ali Schwach, received gold medals while competing in the Maccabiah Games representing the United States.

Often referred to as the “Jewish Olympics,” the Games attract the most outstanding Jewish athletes from around the world to Israel. The Maccabiah Games, which took place July 12-23, include more than 7,000 athletes, making it the third-largest sporting event in the world.

The U.S. team won all five of its matches including a 4-0 decision in the championship game over Israel. The team also outscored its opponents 32-0 in that five game span.

“It gave us a sense of pride that we were able to travel across the world to be a part of these games, being Jewish and playing the game we love,” Brand said. “It was also awesome to play in that environment representing your country.”

The trip was not all soccer for the pair of Buckeyes as they also were able to do some traveling and visit many of the sights across Israel although every match was played at the main stadium in Haifa, the Ramat Gan.

“Our team had great camaraderie from the start,” Schwach added. “Both of us were able to raise our level of play significantly from this experience.”

Brand, a defender from Virginia Beach, Va., has played in 38 matches, starting 26, in her Ohio State career. She has scored three goals and added a pair of assists, been named a two-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and has also been chosen to the Academic All-Big Ten Conference team.

Schwach has played in 30 matches, making 12 starts as a Buckeye. The junior forward from Mendota Heights, Minn., has scored three goals in her career in addition to being named a three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and an Academic All-Big Ten selection.