Early Bird Tournament

Lady Rams elevate game to play in regional championship

May 27, 2010 // 0 Comments

When the Rockford women’s water polo team kicked off their season in mid-March with the traditional Early Bird Tournament, many of their opponents didn’t take them too seriously. They had a young new coach, a junior goalie in net, and only five returning seniors, and those seniors hadn’t played much with the incoming juniors the past two years. What those opponents didn’t count on was Rockford’s determination, commitment or the experience and skill of their new coach. The girls stepped up their game, learned plenty of lessons, and struggled through losses to Hudsonville, East Kentwood and Okemos. They also began to gel and implement the plays and drills taught to them. Those opponents who thought the Lady Rams may not get past districts or regionals for a shot at the state title were quieted when the Rams emerged East District champions, then went into the May 21-22 regional tournament as first seed. It was clear the Lady Rams came to play. When the final whistle blew, four of their players were named to regional teams and Head Coach Scott Voltz was voted Coach of the Year. Captain Natalie Beeg was named to the Honorable Mention Team, captain and junior goalie Tiffany Elenbaas was named to Second Team, and captain Ashley Gremel and sophomore Casey Wolfer were both named to the First Team. The honors were based on their overall season performance. To make it into the regional championship game, the Lady Rams had to win their first two games. West Ottawa, Jenison, East Grand Rapids, Hudsonville, Portage Central, East Kentwood and Zeeland all had advanced to the West Regional Tournament from districts. Rockford took on West Ottawa in round one, dominating from the start to win 12-5. Beeg led the scoring with three goals and one assist. Wolfer and freshman Adrianna Craft each had two goals. Goals also came from Gremel, sophomore Sarah Smith, junior Lauren Hulsebus, sophomore Abbey Finlayson, and junior Jamie VanPortfliet. Gremel, Wolfer and junior Taylor Downs combined on defense for 11 steals. Elenbaas was covering all corners of the net with 10 saves, one assist and two steals. Every player saw action, including those from the junior varsity team, who were called up in the post season. Craft had to step […]