The West Michigan boys water polo postseason begins this weekend at the Rockford High School pool. The Rams host the two district championships of the Michigan Water Polo Association’s (MWPA) west region. The top four teams in each district will move on to the regional championship. The MWPA west region consists of 10 teams in two districts. The west district comes in seeded as follows: Grand Haven (first), Hudsonville (second), West Ottawa (third), Zeeland (fourth), and Jenison (fifth). In the east district we find Grandville (first), Rockford (second), East Kentwood (third), East Grand Rapids/Catholic Central (fourth), and Portage (fifth). Rockford’s pool will be rocking as players and coaches, as well as families and fans, pull out all the stops for this win-or-go-home portion of the season. Action begins Friday night at 5:00 p.m. and continues throughout the day on Saturday. By virtue of its second seed, Rockford advances directly to the east district semifinals, competing against East Kentwood Saturday morning at 9:15. Eight of the 10 teams will move on to the regionals. For those eight teams, the districts are about jockeying for seeding position. At regionals a team must win its first game to move on to the state championship; the higher seeds from districts play lower seeds in that first game at regionals. With such great competitive balance in the state this year, there is no easy path to a district, regional or state championship. All the top teams have lost multiple games against other top teams. A team’s seeding from districts might provide the edge they need for a run at the state title. The Rams enter the postseason with a 23-11 overall record, having won the OK conference championship despite tough non-conference losses to some of the state’s best teams. They look for a strong showing in the districts as they begin their quest for another state water polo championship. Being in their home pool with supportive fans could make a huge difference.
Easy win over Grand Haven At the risk of sounding repetitive, it was depth once again that secured the Lady Rams’ victory over its swim/dive conference rival, Jenison. On Thursday, Oct. 8, the Lady Rams A team headed to Wildcat territory to take on a very fast and strong team which they had defeated in all four divisions the week prior at the Forest Hills Invitational. Now it was time for a one-on-one match-up. The Rams were up to the challenge. The meet started with the 200 medley relay, with Casey Wolfer, Rachael Romain, Erica Cutler and Lauren Girard taking first with a 1:54.2. Teammates Kennedy Cutler, Morgan Lipe, Taylor Downs and Taylor Hutson finished third with 1:59.98, and Kristen Long, Sloan Ouellette, Adrianna Craft and Audrey Tinkham followed with 2:03.78. Event two, the 200 freestyle, was a second- through fifth-place finish for the Rams, with identical twins Sarah and Alaina Smith finishing 2.02.74 and 2.02.83 respectively, followed by Morgan Longberg with 2:03.99 and Lexy Caster at 2:04.16. The 200 IM followed with another great finish by Rockford swimmers Jessica Cutler (second, 2:14.08), Romain (third, 2:18.89), E. Cutler (fourth, 2.19.32), and Lipe (fifth, 2.25.19). In the 50 free, all four top Rams swam within less than a second of each other, with Jamie Van Portfliet (second, 26.01), Wolfer (third, 26.03), Girard (fourth, 26.59) and K. Cutler (sixth, 26.73). Rockford diver Erica Finlayson fell just 2.75 points behind Jenison’s first-place diver Demi Welch. Totals were Finlayson (second, 202.05), Katie DeHaan (third, 188.00), Rita Snyder (fourth, 181.65), and Macie DeGraaf (sixth, 165.30). During the second half of the meet, Rockford’s top finishers included: • 100 butterfly—E. Cutler (first, 1:00.55), S. Smith (second, 1:02.42), Craft (fourth, 1:04.18), and Downs (sixth, 1:07.63) • 100 free—A. Smith (second, 56.25), Van Portfliet (third, 57.68), Girard (fourth, 58.08), Caster (fifth, 58.31) • 500 free—J. Cutler (first, 5:21.03), Craft (fifth, 5:42.60), Holly Nauta (seventh, 5:46.91), Hutson (eighth, 5:49) • 200 freestyle relay—S. Smith, E. Cutler, VanPortfliet, J. Cutler (first, 1:44.01); A. Smith, Hutson, Caster, Girard (second, 1:46.07); Tinkham, Emily Williams, Alyssa Rollins, Alli Wilburn (fourth, 1:49.98) • 100 back—Wolfer (first, 1:02.99), Longberg (second, 1:03.59), K. Cutler (fourth, 1:06.87), Downs (fifth, 1:07.31) • 100 breaststroke—Romain (third, 1:13.03), Lipe (fourth, 1:13.66), Ouellette (seventh, 1:16.49), Ashley […]
On Thursday, Oct. 15, Rockford hosted the Grandville Bulldogs in a OK Red conference volleyball match. It was a night to also honor the seniors. The match started out introducing the seniors. Kylie Basarabski (#7, middle hitter) plans to attend either Northern Michigan University or Southern Indiana University to study radiology. Dana Girolami (#4, defensive specialist) is undecided on what college to attend, but wants to go into nursing. Captain Cailie Johnson (#1, outside hitter) plans to attend Grand Valley State University to major in political science and play volleyball. Jenna Lysne (#3, defensive specialist) plans to attend Northern Michigan University, but has not decided a major. Captain Ali Prus (#8, defensive specialist) plans to attend Elmhurst College to study urban missions and social work. Kim Weaver (#6, setter) is undecided on what college she will attend. It was also announced that some of the accomplishments of these seniors include three straight district championships, academic all state every year, and 127 wins. The first game saw Rockford and Grandville battling back and forth right down to the wire as each team held serve for game point. Rockford fell behind 24-25 with Grandville having set point and serving. However, some great net play by Rockford’s front line blockers kept Grandville from winning the first game. Grandville had game point twice, but was stopped by a front line consisting of Basarabski, Andrea Kacsits and Johnson. Rockford finally won the first game with some greats sets from Weaver, and kills from Johnson and Kacsits. Lysne had her jump serve working almost to perfection. The second game saw Rockford turn up the heat on Grandville as Rockford won 25-7, with help from Nicole Czehowski, Jessica Majerle and Murphy Heyer. Rockford’s front line net players shut down Grandville’s kill attempts with key blocks and great back row digs and passes from Heather Gates, Ali Prus, Sidney Rodriguez, Morgan Denham and Dana Girolami. Libaro Halle Peterson was all over the floor all three games, making great plays. The key to winning volleyball games is to make good passes from the back row to the setting and then the setter making good sets. Rockford did that the last two games. Rockford closed out the night to take the last game by a […]
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