Rockford Men’s Water Polo ready to make run toward another State Championship

Coach Haga talks to his team before the game

As the regular season for the Rockford Men’s Water Polo begins, the rams are ranked second in the state as defending division 1 state champions. Having something to prove, the rams come off a strong preseason tournament schedule having lost only to top rated Hudsonville.

The season started on September 10th on the road at Grand Haven. The rams started out a little slow with a number of turnovers in the first quarter and a 1-0 lead. But as the game progressed, they showed why they are ready to make a run toward another state championship with a convincing 15-3 win.

Leading the scoring were the four co-captains. Senior Gavin Saur with 4 goals. Senior Kyle Arend and Junior Elijah Chino each had 3 goals and senior Zach Burns had 2 goals. Sophomores Brenden Saur and Nolan Graalman along with junior Brendan Chaudoir each added 1 goal.

The rams continued their strong defensive play with a total of 25 steals in the game. Leading the way was Gavin Saur with 6, Kyle Arend, Elijah Chino, and Junior Kyle Dedert each had 4 steals. Zach Burns and Nolan Graalman each had 2 steals. Brenden Saur, Junior Nick Deugaw and Junior Goalie Ben Schuchardt each had 1 steal.

Game two of the season had Rockford on the road once again, this time visiting Jenison. Unlike the last game however, the rams started fast with a 7-0 lead after the first quarter and 11-0 at the half. Coach Haga was able to substitute a number of players and end the game with a 13-3 victory.

Leading the scoring was Zach Burns with 4 goals, 3 of those coming in the first quarter. Kyle Arend, Gavin Saur, and Elijah Chino each had 2 goals. Kyle Dedert, Brenden Saur, and freshman Nate Chaney added 1 goal each. Goalie Ben Schuchardt had 2 assists with some precise outlet passes.

Gavin Saur and Kyle Dedert led the defense, each racking up 3 steals. Kyle Arend, Elijah Chino, and Junior Matthew Weber each had 2 steals. Brenden Saur and Juniors Boede Mitchell and Samuel Radtke had 1 steal each.

On September 17th, Rockford Men’s Water Polo had their first home game vs. Grandville. Once again the rams started strong with an 11-0 half time lead and a 17-2 Victory.

Zach Burns led all scorers again with 4 goals. Junior Trey Williams had 3 goals. Gavin Saur and Kyle Dedert each had 2 goals. Kyle Arend, Elijah Chino, Brenden Saur, Nate Chaney, and Nolan Graalman each added 1 goal.

Kyle Dedert led the defense with 4 steals. Brenden and Gavin Saur had 3 and 2 steals respectively. Nick Deugaw had 2 steals and Ben Schuchardt, Elijah Chino, Nate Chaney, and Brendan Chaudoir had 1 steal each. Goalie Ben Schuchardt had 5 saves and backup goalie, Boede Mitchell had 3 saves.

September 19th saw the rams back on the road to take on the Panthers of West Ottawa. Rockford started strong with a 12-3 lead at half once again giving the bench a good number of minutes in the pool.

Elijah Chino led all scorers with 5 goals. Zach Burns continued finding the back of the net with 4 goals. Brenden Saur had 3 goals with older brother Gavin adding 2 goals. Kyle Arend and Kyle Dedert each had 1 goal to end the game with a 16-10 win. Kyle Arend led the team with 5 assists.

Kyle Arend led the defense with 4 steals. Kyle Dedert and Brenden Saur each had 3 steals. Gavin Saur and Zach Burns had 2 steals each.

The week ended with Rockford continued to be ranked second in the state. Next up for the Rams is a home game vs. Zeeland on Sept. 24th.