by Deborah VanDyke and Heidi Willison
The Rockford Men’s Water Polo junior varsity team participated in the East Kentwood JV Invitational on Friday and Saturday, September 6 and 7. Their first game was against Hudsonville, and the Rams won 16-10. Sophomore Alec Cutler’s six goals lead the team in scoring. Sophomore Sam Sikkema provided four assists and steals, while freshman Adam Kapp also stole the ball four times. Sophomore goalie Christian Williams blocked Hudsonville’s goal attempts 10 times.
Game two of the tournament pitted Rockford against Portage Central. With the 20-0 win, this game provided numerous scoring opportunities for the underclassmen, and the team’s younger players delivered. Fourteen different players scored goals in this game. Christian Williams blocked six goal attempts, and sophomore Jack Dorer blocked four.
For game three, Rockford played their rival Jenison. This game was notably aggressive, but the Rams pulled through to win 11-8. Alec Cutler, Jacob Vickery, and Sam Sikkema each scored three goals. Jack Dorer scored two. Sam Sikkema stole the ball seven times, while Christian Williams blocked six goal attempts.
The Rams won their final game in the tournament with a score of 16-10 against East Kentwood. Sam Sikkema landed an impressive long shot at the first quarter buzzer. Alec Cutler scored eight times during the game, including a backhand shot during the fourth quarter. Alex Dorer and Israel Chino each stole the ball four times. Christian Williams made five saves, and spent a significant portion of the game playing in the field. Jacob Vickery served as goalie during that time and made five saves as well. When asked about his time in the field, team captain Christian Williams indicated that it helps the players to understand each position. “It’s good to respect other people’s positions in the pool
because you don’t know how hard it is until you try it. It helps you appreciate the team as a whole.”
Jerrad Rickard coached the team this weekend and was pleased with their performance. “This was a great weekend for Rockford Water Polo. We had a good mix of solid competition and opportunities to play our younger players to continue to grow as a team.”
The Rockford Men’s Varsity Water Polo team traveled to Grand Haven and West Ottawa’s “Shoot Out At the Shore” tournament for the weekend. Friday evening they faced the host team, Grand Haven. Senior goalie Kyle Hams and sophomore goalie Jacob Fase combined their efforts to give the varsity Rams their only shut out of the tournament, winning over Grand Haven 15-0.
The Rams continued their domination during the Saturday games beating Seaholm 15-2, Troy Athens 17-1, and Hudsonville 13-1. The championship game was played against Jenison, a favorite rival. The winning combination of the Rams’ deep bench and conditioning proved to be too much for the Jenison team. Rams beat the Wildcats, 12-3. Over the weekend, the Rams outscored their opponents 72 to 7. Senior captain Jacob Davis had the most goals scored over the weekend with 11 nets. Senior Stephan Cress led the team in assists (6) and in steals (11.) Cress commented about the weekend tournament stating, “It was a lot of fun to play with all the guys over the weekend. We do what we do in practice, and that is what we bring to the tournament weekends.”
The Rams coach, Dave McWatters also commented, “We are very proud of our accomplishments, winning both the JV and Varsity tournaments this weekend. We know there are many more games to play, and there is room for much more improvement.” Next weekend’s tournaments feature the JV team traveling to Zeeland, while the Varsity team goes to East Kentwood.