Craig Wasberg

Rams repeat as state water polo champs

November 18, 2010 // 0 Comments

The dynasty continues. Rockford entered the Michigan Water Polo Association state championships at West Zeeland, who was ranked fourth in the state, on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 12-13. But by the time the final whistle blew, the Rams were once again on top, claiming their second consecutive state championship, their seventh in eight years, and their eighth in 11 years. Four Rams received All State honors. Junior Bryan Wasberg and senior Jeff Schmitt were named second team All State, while junior Eric Chisholm and senior Pat Fase were named first team All State. In addition, Fase’s stellar goalie play throughout the weekend earned him a share of the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award. “I’m so proud of every member of the team,” beamed Fase. “We had a small senior class to provide leadership, but it was the underclassmen, including the entire bench, who did the hard work it took to win the championship.” Rockford opened the tournament with a convincing 9-2 win against a scrappy team from Ann Arbor Pioneer. Six different Rams scored goals, including two each by Wasberg, Chisholm and junior Alex Savage. But it was the Ram defense, led by Chisholm with three steals, and Fase’s goaltending that made the difference. In the semifinals, Rockford squared off against the top ranked team in the state, Ann Arbor Huron. The River Rats feature the state’s top scorer, senior David Hasegan, the other co-MVP of the tournament. Rockford jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period. But Huron, on the strength of two quick goals by Hasegan, stormed back to take the lead in the second. After a Rockford timeout, Chisholm drove to the net, took a pass from Savage, and flipped in an amazing no-look shot to tie the score. The next time down the pool, Chisholm found Schmitt open for a score that restored the Rockford lead. Huron scored three more goals, but Rockford answered each time, and hung on for an 8-7 victory. The story of the game was the team’s defense on Hasegan. Wasberg wrestled with him for most of the game, with Chisholm sprinting back on defense to help out, collecting five steals for his efforts. And when the defense didn’t hold, Fase made several brilliant stops […]

Rams win water polo thriller on historic night

October 7, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rockford topped East Kentwood 7-6 last Wednesday, Sept. 29, in a key conference clash that keeps the Rams on pace for their 18th consecutive conference title. This big win over a top rival was also the 500th victory in the storied career of Rockford Coach Dave McWatters.   East Kentwood gave the visiting Rams all they could handle, battling from the opening whistle to the final possession. Rockford junior Bryan Wasberg opened the scoring with a sizzling shot from the wing. The Falcons responded with two goals before Wasberg found sophomore teammate Nick Willison open just before the end of the first period. Willison beat the Falcon goalie to even the contest at 2-2. Kentwood outpaced Rockford in the second period, and took a 4-3 lead into halftime. The Rams answered in the third period with a brilliant effort. Smothering team defense completely shut down the Falcons. On the offensive end, freshman Craig Wasberg and senior Jeff Schmitt scored goals, giving Rockford a 5-4 lead heading into the fourth period. That’s when junior Eric Chisholm, who had been fighting for inside scoring position all night, finally found a way to break loose. He scored the first goal of the fourth quarter, giving the Rams a 6-4 cushion. But with the game winding down, East Kentwood battled back, closing the gap to 6-5. Would they be able to ride their home pool advantage to victory? Not this night. Just 15 seconds later, Chisholm notched his third goal of the game, pushing the lead to 7-5. East Kentwood scored again with one minute left in the game to pull within a single goal. But that was as close as they would come. With 25 seconds left, the Falcons’ leading scorer had the ball right in front of the Rockford net. But Schmitt and fellow senior goalie Pat Fase combined to make the defensive stop and save the game. “We’re focused on winning the conference this year, and it feels great to beat a strong Kentwood team in their own pool,” said Chisholm. “When we were down 4-3 at the half, we felt like we were still in the game. We’ve been down before and have been able to come back, so we knew we could do it […]

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