May 27 2010

East Kentwood defeats Rockford soccer in battle for league lead

May 27, 2010 // 0 Comments

by JACKIE HOLLAND-DECKER The annual conference game between the Rockford varsity girls soccer team and the East Kentwood Falcons is always a “clash of the Titans,” and Friday’s fight for the OK Red lead was no exception. The Rams and Falcons were mirror images of each other in many ways, but one small fact made all of the difference: East Kead with Class B leader Spring Lake three weeks ago. Holding the Lakers to a tie for the entire game, the Rams lost in the final three minutes. Ditto against Kentwood. The Rams scored first when the Huyser twins, Kate and Al, made the Falcons take a double take just four minutes into the game. Al took a corner kick from the left side and her sister placed herself in front of the net to take advantage of the opportunity. East Kentwood’s Becca Means, who will take her talent to Central Michigan University next fall, tied the game six minutes later, racing past the defense and putting it into the left side of the net. The next 65 minutes saw the two teams at a stalemate, with both teams having opportunities and neither scoring. Credit Rockford’s flat-back four defense, especially the play of senior Celine Stallmer, with keeping Means and company out of the net. Stallmer—who played the best game of her life, according to Ponne—was a pest to the future Chippewa, and her relentless pressure forced Means to switch sides of the field to try to score from another angle. “They were a very physical team,” said Stallmer. “I’m not a dirty player, but you had to body up and be confident to hold your ground. You had to go for every 50/50 ball and know you are going to come out on top.” Rockford goalie Karlee Fluegel was also at the top of her game, deflecting, punching out or catching all but two of the Falcon shots. That 11th shot on goal by East Kentwood’s Casey McMillan was basically a non-defendable goal. McMillan took the pass from the right, turned at an awkward angle, and sent the ball flying into the net with 3:13 remaining in the game. The Rams almost scored as time ran out. Al Huyser patiently passed the ball right […]

Rams soccer comes from behind to win in conference tourney opener

May 27, 2010 // 0 Comments

by JACKIE HOLLAND-DECKER Missed opportunities have plagued the Rockford girls soccer team all season long. Many times they have outplayed their opponents, only to lose in the last few minutes of the contest. When they found themselves trailing host Grandville 2-0 in the OK Red conference tournament opener Thursday night, May 20, at Grand View Elementary School, they had a decision to make: Let the Bulldogs have the victory, or find it within themselves to pull together and win. They chose the latter, erasing the 2-0 halftime deficit to win 3-2. “The biggest thing is what we proved to ourselves,” said Coach Amira Ponne. “We can come from two goals down and score three goals to win. The girls trusted us in the decisions we made. They believed it and it worked.” In an effort to jumpstart the comeback, the coaches switched the Rams’ formation at halftime. While a flat-back four defense has worked for the Rams most of the time this season, Ponne changed it to a diamond four with a sweeper and a stopper, moving freshman defender Erika Bradfield up into the middle offense, bringing senior midfielder Al Huyser back to the stopper position, and putting senior Sam Decker at sweeper. The switch proved valuable. “We’ve always wanted to do it but felt she [Bradfield] was solid back there on defense,” said Ponne. “She plays nice through balls and is very aggressive. She makes a lot of stuff happen. Al was winning the 50/50 balls back there. We needed something different back there, and she is so patient. We knew she would step up.” Although Ponne was hesitant to switch the defense because the girls hadn’t practiced it, something goalkeeper coach Scott Hazel said spurred her into action. “Scott said ‘2-0 or 30-0, it makes no difference’,” said Ponne. In the first half, the Rams seemed to always be a step behind and just off the mark on their shots. Although Rockford had many opportunities, the speedy, aggressive Bulldogs were constantly intercepting passes and moving to the ball faster, and their defense was shutting down any forward movement. “We knew coming in that Grandville’s strength was their speed and that they worked well together as a team,” said Ponne. “They are fast everywhere […]

Women’s lightweight eight crew takes first at state regatta

May 27, 2010 // 0 Comments

Twenty high school rowing teams from across the state of Michigan gathered at Riverside Park on Saturday, May 15 for the Scholastic Rowing Association of Michigan state regatta. Competition was tough as the boats battled it out in each heat to advance to the finals in the afternoon. The Rams proved to be fierce competitors, as they secured 12 of the 13 boats into finals. By day’s end, the Ram women claimed second place behind Ann Arbor Pioneer. Combined men’s and women’s scores earned Rockford third place overall. Taking first place for the Rams was the women’s lightweight eight boat of Raechel Wrona, Molly Guthrie, Andrea Galloway, Lora Gleghorn, Chloe McColgan, Lynsey Felty, Emily Prus, Kaitlyn Fugate, and coxswain Dani Tefft. Claiming second place were: • women’s senior four: Olivia Kascits, Maddie Anderson, Sarah Lemanski, Julia Fraser, and coxswain Lauren Fay. • men’s lightweight four: Troy Paskiewicz, Sam Berndt, Isaac Blenman, Dylan Itter, and coxswain Sam Tefft. • men’s junior eight: Austin Burris, Alex Welch, Bryce Vanderberg, TJ Jacobs, Mitch Griffis, Ben Pitts, Tim Carlson, Nate Roobol, and coxswain Margaret Saelens. • women’s senior eight: Kacsits, Anderson, J. Fraser, Kate Fraser, Kendra Bilardello, Rebecca Markam, Wrona, Galloway, and coxswain Fay. • men’s junior four: Jacobs, Bryce Vanderberg, Welch, Burris, and coxswain Mark Nadeau. Capturing third place honors were: • women’s junior four: Amy Fedeson, Kara Korson, Kendall McConnohie, Stephani Sawicki, and coxswain Becca DeKorne. • women’s junior eight: Bilardello, Korson, McConnohie, K. Fraser, Fedeson, Markam, Fugate, Prus and coxswain DeKorne. Also deserving of recognition is the Rams’ women’s novice four boat, who placed second at the Midwest Scholastic Regatta recently in Cincinnati. Congratulations go to Donna Pilarski, Dana DeBusschere, Christine Pavano, Brianna Shears, and coxswain Annie Keith. Congratulations are also in order for the following Rockford rowers, who qualified their boats for the National Scholastic Regatta in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. on May 27-28. Only the top four senior boats and top three lightweight and junior boat finishers at the Midwest Scholastic Regional Regatta are eligible to compete at the National Scholastic Regatta. In 2008, Rockford had two boats qualify for nationals. In 2009, four boats qualified. This year, they had six boats qualify: • men’s lightweight eight: Berndt, Josh Houn, Itter, Paskiewicz, Tyler Truxton, Blenman, […]

Rockford tennis advances to state finals

May 27, 2010 // 0 Comments

Oops, they did it again! Rockford girls varsity tennis qualified for the state finals after accumulating the necessary 18 points to earn the honor. The stage was set back on May 15 when the Rams hosted the OK Red conference tournament. Rockford earned 45 points, finishing third and providing the positioning needed for preferred seeding at the regional tournament this past Saturday, May 22 in Jenison. Each of the eight flights won their first round in the single elimination regional event. As the day progressed, it started to become a possibility that Rockford would be a contender. All four doubles teams won their second round as two, three and four singles did as well. It happened to be the hottest day of the season, with temperatures reaching over 80 degrees on the courts. All the players were getting anxious to see if their dream would become a reality. As each flight advanced, it became evident the dream was possible. By late afternoon, after each flight contributed points toward the required 18, it was realized that Rockford had 17 points with one match still to play. Junior Alex Stembaugh, playing three singles, had advanced all the way into the final round. Playing as cool as she did all year, Stembaugh beat her worthy opponent from Hudsonville in straight sets. “I expected tough competition going into the match,” said Stembaugh. “I knew I would have to step up my game.” Coach Tom Huizing stated, “This was a hard-fought season. In the OK Red anything can happen on any day. The same holds true in the regionals. Everyone knew what to do and everyone contributed. Alex was amazing at handling the pressure like a veteran player. I’m extremely proud of the entire team. They did it as a team. They got it done.” It looks like spring tennis is blossoming nicely in Rockford. This will be the third year in a row that the team will be going to state finals under the coaching of Huizing. The entire team is thankful for Coach Huizing, all the community for their support, the parents, the press for covering the action each week, their teachers and friends that came out to see them play, JV coach Val Wallace and their number […]

Ram golfers prevail with school record 144

May 27, 2010 // 0 Comments

Wednesday, May 12, was destined to be a tough match for the Rockford Rams varsity golfers. Grandville was the only team that had defeated them in the OK Red this season. Rockford’s record in league was 15-1 and Grandville’s was 14-0. To say that the Rams stepped up is an understatement. The Rams turned in a sizzling school record of 144 (+4) ahead of Grandville (155) and Jenison (160). On a cloudy 55-degree day, seniors Sam Gallup (35), Trent Davison (35), Jake Chaffee (36), and Eric Conroy (38) stepped up in a spectacular way on the front nine at BraeSide Golf Club in Rockford. The nine-hole total of 144 set the nine-hole record for Rockford High School, and the Rams are very proud of their performance. The Rams still have battles ahead to achieve a conference championship, but this round should really catapult their confidence. Due to a rainout, the OK Red match hosted by Rockford was rescheduled and played at Cedar Chase Golf Club on Friday, May 14. The Rockford Rams met the Hudsonville Eagles for a match on the par-36 front nine. The Rams prevailed by a tally of 146 (+2) to Hudsonville’s 167. Davison (34) and Gallup (35) both turned in under-par performances and were supported by Steven Mette’s 38 and Conroy’s 39. The Eagles were consistent, with no score over 42. This is the second time this week the Rams have broken the 150 mark. Rockford hosted their own invitational at BraeSide Golf Club on Saturday, May 15 under great conditions—62 degrees and sunny with a light wind. For one of the few days so far this season, the weather was very comfortable. The Rams put up a great fight, but lost by one to Forest Hills Central, 291-290. The medalist of the tournament was Rockford’s Davison, who fired a one-under-par 69. Also scoring for the Rams were Gallup with a 72, Mette with a 73, and 77’s by Conroy and Chaffee. On Wednesday, May 19, the OK Red post-conference tournament was hosted by Hudsonville at Sunnybrook Country Club. Coming into the day, the Rams had a one-point lead on Grandville, and at the end of the day they were tied. Rockford and Grandville are co-champions of the OK Red boys […]

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