by PATRICK KEELEY
Rockford’s girls water polo team earned a place at the regional tournament with two wins in the district tournament to take the East District championship. Rockford defeated Portage Central and then met East Grand Rapids (EGR) in the final.
Rockford busted out, won the sprint and took the ball right up the middle. EGR forced a couple turnovers and blocked a couple shots, but Mary Keeley found Kelsey Vermeer open at the three-minute mark and Vermeer made it count.
The Rams looked like last year’s squad for most of the game, as they made catch-and- throw passes and were relentless on defense. EGR was deeply troubled, and hardly had any good shots.
Keeley found Vermeer open again, as did Christina Weston a minute later, and it was 3-0. Freshman Casey Wolfer rocketed the fourth goal, and the Rams were up 4-0. EGR got a breakaway and was fouled, but Kaitlyn Korhorn smothered the penalty shot. However, the Pioneers scored on the next play, and it was 4-1 at halftime.
In the first three minutes of the third quarter, both teams made great defensive stops. Then Keeley just stripped the ball, sprinted away and scored, and it was 5-1. Weston used a basketball hook shot from the hole to make it 6-1 late in the game.
EGR got two goals in the fourth quarter, but Weston got open again and scored. The Rams held on for a 7-4 win.
May 15 and 16, the Rams traveled to Zeeland for the MWPA west regional championship. Then, the top four teams from the region will continue on to the state championship to be held at Jenison’s pool May 29-30. The Michigan State Girls Water Polo champion has come from the west region the last five years in a row. Come on out and cheer on the Rams.