by Craig Beach
The Rockford men’s water polo team began its tournament run this past weekend at East Kentwood. The Michigan Water Polo Association Boys Districts saw the Rams drawing a bye on Friday evening, opening up Saturday morning facing the Grandville Bulldogs who defeated Portage Friday night.
The Rams defeated the Bulldogs in the morning district match-up 15-3. The District Two Championship game would be Rockford versus the host East Kentwood Falcons who defeated the Pioneers of East Grand Rapids.
The Rams executed a balanced attack in the first half of the contest as four Rockford players had multiple scores, led by Mike Arend and Justin Hulsebus who each put it between the pipes three times. The first half was highlighted by Hulsebus’s passing. He found Nick Willison streaking toward the net for a perfect assist as Willison found the net for one of his two for the half and later threaded a nice full pool pass to Arend who shoveled the ball into the net. Rockford led at half 11-2. In the second half the Rams mixed up their line-up, planning ahead for the regional and state tournaments. The Rams
swam away with a District 2 Championship defeating the Falcons 14-3. Senior Arend after the victory commented, “We have set our base for the post-season. Now we need to build on this. We will continue to develop new threats and continue to improve as we move on to the next round of play.” Tournament leaders were Justin Hulsebus with six goals, five steals and four assists, Mike Arend with six goals and Nick Willison with five steals and four goals. Senior goal tender Corey Fase notched ten stops. The Rockford record now stands at 40-0
Season all conference selections were announced before the tournament started. Four Rams were honored. Grant Beach, Justin Hulsebus, and Nick Willison were rewarded as 1st team all conference selections. Corey Fase was selected as honorable mention all conference.