Rams JV water polo wins Jenison tournament

Grueling six straight days of games intense

When the Rockford women’s water polo teams returned from spring break, they had their work cut out for them, as in six consecutive days of games. For those familiar with this grueling sport, this means something, especially since Friday and Saturday consisted of multiple games as part of the Jenison round robin tournament.

Junior varsity player Morgan Longberg plays defense against her opponent. Photo by SHANNON OUELLETTE

To the Lady Rams, they took the schedule in stride. Head Coach Scott Voltz noted, “It has been a crazy week! To come back from spring break and have only one practice prior to this week’s games, it can be quite a challenge. The girls have responded well. We also have learned from a lot of game situations and come out of this week stronger than we came in.”

The junior varsity team hit its stride on Friday and Saturday at the Jenison Invitational, winning all four of their games to earn first place. Freshman Ellie Raymond was particularly strong in the final game against host team Jenison, stopping 12 attempts to beat Jenison 9-4. Freshman Adrianna Kraft had five goals, Sarah Smith had two, and Abby Finlayson and Alyssa Rollins each had one.

Rockford senior Christina Weston fights for the ball. Photo by SHANNON OUELLETTE

To get to the finals on Saturday, April 17, the JV squad defeated Ann Arbor Pioneer 9-2, East Kentwood 11-0, and Hudsonville 13-3.

The varsity team faced very tough opponents at the Jenison Invitational, starting out with top seed Naperville from the Chicago area. Besides the Early Bird Tournament in Ann Arbor, the Rams’ varsity team had not experienced play at this level this season. They fell to Naperville 3-8, then lost a close game in overtime to East Kentwood 4-5. The score flip-flopped throughout the game, with many of the Rams’ opportunities just hitting the cross bar. The Lady Rams will seek a rematch on Tuesday, April 20 at East Kentwood.

Following this tough loss, the Rams faced powerhouse Hudsonville and hung with them until the fourth quarter, which began tied at 3-3. The Rams lost 4-7, but now know what to look for during the playoffs.

Junior goalie Tiffany Elenbaas defends the goal during a varsity game. Photo by SHANNON OUELLETTE

The Lady Rams wrapped up the tournament with a 13-3 victory over Grandville, with five saves from junior goalie Tiffany Elenbaas, three goals from Casey Wolfer, two from Emily Williams, Lauren Hulsebus and Christina Weston, and one goal each from Ashley Gremel, Brandy Fase, Natalie Beeg and Sloan Ouellette.

Earlier in the week, the Rams traveled to West Ottawa to take on the Panthers. Freshman goalie Ellie Raymond pulled double duty as Elenbaas was out sick.

Both teams planned to use the lessons and conditioning to gear up for East Kentwood on April 20 and Jenison at home April 22 before the varsity team heads to Stevenson, Ill., April 23-24 for a very high level of play tournament, and the junior varsity travel s to Grand Haven for a weekend tournament.

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