Two Rockford water polo teams earn perfect records in Shootout

Rockford junior Justin Hulsebus plays tough defense.

The “Shootout at the Shore” water polo tournament took place this past weekend, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 9-10, at pools in Grand Haven and Holland West Ottawa with 16 teams from around the state of Michigan. Rockford men’s water polo sent two teams with a total of 30 polo players to compete at the Shootout. The tournament was divided into four divisions, with the two squads from Rockford each winning their respective flights.

A tremendous amount of polo was played by the squads. The Rockford A team played twice on Friday, finishing their last game at 10:30 p.m. and had to be back at the West Ottawa pool Saturday for a 9:40 a.m. game.

This is the third year for senior Mack Finnie to play in the Shootout. He enjoys the tournament and stated, “I look forward to the Shootout at the Shore, and the amount of polo played allows us the opportunity to work on team chemistry.”

Both Rockford squads played selfless team water polo.

Junior Nick Willison said, “The tournament is a chance for us to work on and strengthen all parts of our team.”

For the Rockford A squad, sophomore Craig Wasberg led the team with 14 steals, and junior Nick Willison led the team in assists with seven. Junior Grant Beach and Wasberg both scored 10 goals to lead the team. Leading the Rockford B squad in scoring was senior Nick Dulak with 13 goals.

Both teams played with intensity and tenacity. The depth and balanced team effort on the squads served Rockford well as they fought their way through opposite brackets in the 16-team pool. Both squads racked up records of 4-0. The perfect records meant that the two squads would have faced off against each other in the tournament finals. In the end, the decision was made to congratulate both teams and not play an inter-squad championship.

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