Tuesday, May 3, the Rockford Rams girls soccer team learned that Cedar Springs was ranked ahead of Rockford locally. That news was a little more motivation for an already motivated Rockford team. Wednesday night, May 4, the Rams started strong, registering a couple shots on the Red Hawk goal within the first several minutes. Cedar Springs was not without a fight, though, and tried to bring the ball back at the Rams. But Rockford stayed strong and in the 14th minute created a corner kick. Senior winger Emily Cowan served a ball in front of the Red Hawk goal, and junior mid-fielder Erica Scott fired a beautiful shot past the Hawks’ goalkeeper for the first goal of the evening. Rockford kept the pressure up but had trouble getting shots on frame, making several shots either high or wide. The Red Hawks put a couple on the Rockford goal, but junior goalkeeper Mikaela Harrell made some outstanding saves, keeping the Rams on top. Then, at the 29th minute, Rockford senior co-captain Sydney Benda fired a great free kick at the Red Hawk goal and junior forward Allison Cook finished the score, putting the Rams up 2-0 to end the first half. Beginning the second half, the Rams did not let up the intensity, but Cedar Springs also ramped up their energy level, getting great pressure on the Rockford attack and putting the Rockford defense to the test. Defenders Gabrielle Pilgrim, Samantha Anderson and senior Allison Hazy had their hands full but made some beautiful saves with the goalie. However, with only 1:15 left in the match, Red Hawk junior Amber Milligan put Cedar Springs on the board. That goal was to be the last of the evening, making the final score Rockford 2, Cedar Springs 1. After the game, Ram junior wide-out Erica Scott said, “We started the game strong and we did not let up after we scored the first goal.” Scott scored a goal in the beginning of the match and said she got her last two goals from set pieces. “I love the corner kicks that Emily Cowan is serving up,” she commented. “Our defense did a great job the second half as well.”
Coach Steve Thomas (left) sits alongside three Rockford varsity soccer teammates (l–r) Emily Cowan, Sidney Benda and Melanie (Lanie) Esch on Friday, Feb. 4, as they sign to play soccer in college. The signing took place in the Rams Den at Rockford High School before families and friends. Cowan signed with Cleveland State University, Benda signed with Savana College of Design, and Esch with Costal Carolina. They are all looking forward to one last season with the Rams before going to play at their new schools.
by JACKIE HOLLAND-DECKER Sorrow played a heavy hand against the Rockford girls soccer team in the last two weeks, but for those 80 minutes out on the field, the Rams were able to overcome their grief and play great soccer. They won two of their three games in the midst of their despair, and even their loss felt like a victory. Reeling from the death of popular Freshman Center health teacher Jan Egbert two weeks ago, the ninth-graders and others who had known her were downcast, but with the help of their teammates, they easily defeated OK Red rival Jenison 7-0 on April 23. Last week Wednesday, April 28, as the pain of that death was lifting, the Rams played a terrific game against Class B leader Spring Lake, holding them to a 1-1 tie until just three minutes remained before losing 2-1. Euphoric after that loss which felt like a win, the Rams went home happy, but their joy soon turned to mourning again when they learned of the unexpected death of senior Stephen May, a three-sport athlete and all-round good guy. When the girls took the field Friday night, April 30, against league rival Grand Haven, their distress was evident. They picked each other up, however, and beat the visiting Buccaneers 2-1 to put their league record at 3-0. “We were still trying to heal from Jan’s death and now this,” said Coach Amira Ponne, as she exited the field. “With all of the tragedy in the last two weeks, they’ve been through a lot, but it has made us stronger. The girls love each other so much. They are such a special group of girls. The seniors are so tight; they have played with each other forever. The freshmen cared so much to see their mentors upset. They stepped up support-wise.” Grand Haven has always been a conference rival for the Rams, but Friday night, they were the least of the team’s worries. The Rams went in wanting to win and get the game over with. Under the circumstances, they played quite well, dominating the shooting (15-7) and controlling the ball for much of the game. They passed well. They communicated, and they scored. “I think that part of it [success] is […]
by JACKIE HOLLAND-DECKER The Rockford girls soccer team opened the league season with a formidable win against Hudsonville Friday night, April 16, but against non-league opposition last week, they faltered. The Rams, now 2-2 overall, beat the visiting Eagles 4-1, taking advantage of four different scorers on the blustery, cold night at Rams Stadium. On Tuesday night and Saturday, April 13 and 17, however, their visitors from Cedar Springs and Petoskey took home the wins. Rockford began the week with the neighboring Red Hawks, who always put up a fight. The Rams out-shot Cedar Springs 17-5, but never truly managed to get a goal, despite the final 2-1 score. Senior goalkeeper Sarah Sowerwine seemed to be at the top of her game for the Red Hawks, and the Rams just couldn’t get the ball past her and her defenders. Although junior offensive center midfielder Syd Benda kicked the ball last for Rockford and was credited with the goal with 14:37 remaining in the game, Red Hawks’ defender Ashley Fisher actually kicked the ball in as she sought to keep it out of the goal. Rockford coach Amira Ponne credited Sowerwine and the Red Hawks’ back line with the win. “I don’t think they controlled the game, but their defense was all over the field,” commented Ponne. Against Hudsonville, the Rams were unstoppable. Benda began the scoring frenzy just five minutes into the game when she shot the ball into the right corner, hitting the inside of the post to secure the goal. Freshman Erika Bradfield had the assist, passing to Benda out in front of the goal. Bradfield scored the second goal 28 minutes into the second half. Senior Kate Huyser passed the ball to her about midfield, and Bradfield charged toward the goal from the left, got past the defense, and shot the ball past freshman keeper Kayla Pouliot. Huyser followed suit four minutes later when she took the pass from junior Lanie Esch and kicked the ball into the left corner. Senior Sondra Weaver added one more, taking a cross from freshman Katie Hartnett and running it in for a full volley against the keeper eight minutes later. Hudsonville, which had four shots on goal compared to Rockford’s 10, got on the scoreboard […]