by PATRICK KEELEY
Rockford women’s water polo, the defending state champions of 2008, went to Ann Arbor Pioneer for their Early Bird Tournament to start the season. Although the first game ended well, with a 15-4 win over Dexter, the next three games against Ann Arbor area teams were painful to watch.
Rockford lost to the Hornets of Saline (8-3) Ann Arbor Pioneer (8-2). A last-second half-pool bomb that slipped between the Rams’ goalie’s hands gave the River Rats of Ann Arbor Huron a 6-5 win in the Rams’ last game of the day.
Coach Reickard was realistic, “When you graduate five starters from a state championship squad, you will have to have a learning experience. We are doing a lot of feeling out, and we made a lot of strides. The games got better as the tournament continued. We are moving on.”
Following are the goals scored in each game:
- Saline-2-0, 3-2, 1-0, 2-1; final 8-3 (Rockford goals by Mary Keeley, Kelsey Vermeer, Ariel Beattie).
- Ann Arbor Pioneer-2-1, 2-0, 2-1, 2-0; final 8-2 (goals by Christina Weston, Amanda Johnson).
- Ann Arbor Huron-0-1, 1-0, 0-1, 5-3; final 6-5 (two goals by Molly Wooldrige and Natalie Beeg, and one by Keeley).
Rockford starts the season with games against Holland, Grand Haven, and then Jenison on March 30.