Rockford Water Polo strong in post season run to State Championship

Rockford Men’s Water Polo post season started Saturday 10-20-18 with the Rams looking for yet another District Championship. In fact since water polo began at Rockford, the Rams have never lost a District Championship. Coming in as the number one seed this year, gave them Friday night off with a bye. That meant that they would have just two games on Saturday for the Championship.

Rockford’s first game was against Portage. They started out a little slow, leading at halftime just 6-3 but with some “encouragement” from coach Haga and the rest of the coaching staff, they extended their lead in the second half to take the first game 14-6. Leading the scoring was senior co-captain, Zach Burns with 6 goals. Junior co-captain, Elijah Chino had 4 goals. Senior co-captain, Gavin Saur had 3 goals and sophomore Brenden Saur added 1 goal. Chino led the team in assists with 4.

Leading the defense was Senior co-captain Kyle Arend with 4 steals. Sophomore, Hudson Verwys had 2 steals. Zach Burns also had 2 steals. Elijah Chino, Gavin Saur, Brenden Saur, Junior Nick Deugaw and freshman Christian Wagen each had 1 steal. Junior Co-captain Ben Schuchardt had 12 saves in the victory.

The second and Championship game had Rockford come out much stronger, scoring 8 goals in the first quarter leading to a 17-3 romp of East Kentwood.

Leading the offense was Kyle Arend with 6 goals. Zach Burns had 5 goals and Gavin Saur had 3 goals. Juniors Elijah Chino, Kyle Dedert and Trey Williams each added 1 goal. Hudson VerWys led the team in assists with 3.

Rockford racked up 18 steals for the game with Kyle Arend and Zach Burns leading the way with 4 each. Gavin Saur and Freshman Nate Cheney each had 2 steals. Trey Williams, Elijah Chino, Kyle Dedert, Brenden Saur and Sophomore Nolan Graalman each had 1 steal.

This past weekend had Rockford at Hudsonville for the Regional Championships. First up for the Rams on Friday night was West Ottawa.

Unlike the previous week’s first game, Rockford jumped out to and early 13-3 lead at halftime. This gave Coach Haga a chance to get some of his bench in the water and finish the game with an easy 17-6 victory.

Leading the scoring was Elijah Chino with 5 goals with Kyle Arend adding 4 goals. Zach Burns and Gavin Saur each had 2 goals. Brenden Saur, Nate Cheney, Nolan Graalman, and Sophomore Nate Hopkins each added 1 goal.

The defense was led by Gavin Saur with 4 steals. Kyle Dedert had 2 steals. Kyle Arend, Zach Burns and Nate Hopkins each had 1 steal. Ben Schuchardt had 12 saves and backup goalie Logan Harris had 5 saves in goal.

Game 2 on Saturday was a much tougher contest with Rockford defeating Grand Haven 11-9. Leading the scoring once again was Zach Burns with 3 goals. Kyle Arend, Elijah Chino and Gavin Saur each had 2 goals. Kyle Dedert added 1 goal. Elijah Chino and Brenden Saur led the team in assists with 2 each.

Leading the team on the defensive side were the 3 senior co-captains, Zach Burns, Gavin Saur and Kyle Arend with 9, 4, and 4 steals respectively. Brenden Saur had 3 steals. Elijah Chino had 2 steals and Nolan Graalman had 1 steal. Goalie Ben Schuchardt kept Rockford in the game with 16 saves.

The Regional Championship game came down to the two top teams in the state, Hudsonville and Rockford. The first half ended with Hudsonville up 4-2 with Zach Burns and Kyle Dedert accounting for the two goals. The third quarter saw Hudsonville extend their lead to 6-3 with Kyle Arend having the only Rockford goal. In the fourth quarter, Elijah Chino brought it within one with 2 goals. Zach Burns added one more goal but it was not enough as Hudsonville added two goals of their own to end the game 8-6.

Leading the team on Defense was Zach Burns with 5 steals. Elijah Chino had 4 steals with Benden Saur adding 3 steals. Kyle Arend had 2 steals and Gavin Saur and Kyle Dedert had 1 steal each.

Rockford Men’s Water Polo heads to the State Championships as the number 2 seed from the west in two weeks at East Kentwood on November 9th and 10th. Come out and cheer for the Rams as they go for their 3rd straight Division 1 state Championship.