Pat Fase

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 seventh straight district water polo title

October 28, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rockford High School hosted the Michigan Water Polo Association (MWPA) West Region district championships last weekend, and the Rams emerged as West Region East District champs for the seventh straight year. Rockford has not lost a district game since the current postseason format was adopted by the MWPA in 2004.   The week began with Jenison visiting Rockford to play for the OK conference championship on Senior Night. Four Ram seniors, Pat Fase, Jared Martella, Jeff Schmitt and exchange student Victor Lima, were honored on this festive night. A highlight of the evening was a stirring a cappella rendition of the national anthem by junior goalie Matt Vermeer. The Wildcats came to town looking for a win and a share of the conference title. “We wanted to come out and play our best,” recalled Schmitt, “because we didn’t want to share the conference title with Jenison. I was especially pumped up knowing this was my last regular season home game.”   Schmitt’s energy resulted in two quick goals as Rockford sprinted to a 3-1 first period lead. Jenison closed the gap to 4-3 late in the second period before Schmitt and junior Eric Chisholm each scored in the final minute of the period to give the Rams a 6-3 halftime lead. But the game was too close for comfort, according to Schmitt. “We knew we needed to step it up in the second half, to focus on doing what we do best, and to have fun doing it.” Schmitt’s formula produced the desired results. The Rams exploded for six goals in the third quarter en route to a 14-3 victory and the outright conference championship—their 18th title in a row. Schmitt led all scorers with five goals; sophomore Nick Willison made five steals. The district tournament brought all West Michigan teams to Rockford High School for the weekend. Despite a sluggish start to their first game, the host Rams used their depth and strength to overpower East Grand Rapids 11-1. Junior Alex Savage led a stifling defensive effort, while Chisholm scored four goals. The district finals found the Rams facing rival East Kentwood in a game featuring the two best goalies in Michigan, Rockford senior Pat Fase and Kentwood junior Raheem Brown. Both teams came […]

Rams take two water polo conference games

September 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

The Rockford boys water polo team hosted two conference foes last week, defeating each with an impressive display of team balance and depth. At the midway point of the season, the Rams’ record stands at 19-5 overall; 3-0 in the conference. Grandville came to town Monday, Sept. 20, hoping to defeat the Rams in conference play for the second straight year. The Bulldogs won a close game against Rockford last year, causing the two teams to split the conference crown. Rockford was ready for the Bulldogs this year, jumping to a 6-0 first-quarter lead, thanks to crisp ball movement and precise shooting. The Rams then battled Grandville goal-for-goal, cruising to 16-9 victory. Eight different Rockford players scored goals, led by senior Jeff Schmitt with four. Wednesday night, Sept. 22, brought the West Ottawa Panthers to the Rockford pool. Again Rockford sped to an early lead and never looked back, finishing with an 18-8 victory. Ten different Rams scored goals; sophomore Nick Willison was the leader with three. Aggressive defense captured 29 steals, including five by junior Alex Savage. In these two games, the Rams displayed an unselfish team-oriented approach to the game. Of the 34 goals scored, 25 were the result of assists. “We are a much better team than we were just two weeks ago,” observed Coach Dave McWatters. “There are many more challenges to go, but the pieces are coming together. Our individual athletes are figuring out how to lift one another’s quality of play. In other words, we are figuring out the elusive art of great team play.” “We get along well together as a team,” said Jared Martella, one of the team’s senior leaders. “There are no divisions between the different grade levels. We play well together no matter who’s in the pool, and we work to keep a positive attitude in the locker room.” Over the weekend, Rockford finished third at Zeeland’s Bird House Bash Invitational. Stout defense and balanced scoring produced big wins against Hudsonville (11-0), West Ottawa (13-0), and Zeeland (14-3). But Saturday morning the Rams lost a 6-5 overtime match to Birmingham Groves, the number four team in the state. Throughout the week, opposing teams had to contend with Rockford’s deep and talented bench. “Some teams depend […]

Rockford water polo opens conference play with win

September 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rockford’s boys water polo team began defense of their OK conference crown last Wednesday, Sept. 15, with a convincing win over Zeeland. The Rams have won or shared the conference championship for the past 17 years, longer than most of this year’s players have been alive! The team traveled to Zeeland to square off against a strong, fast, senior-led Zeeland squad, who was ranked eighth in the state. After a slow first quarter, Rockford opened the second with two quick goals. The Rams pushed the score to 5-2 at the half and held on for a 7-4 victory. Senior captain Jeff Schmitt set the defensive tone, recording four of the team’s 19 steals. Juniors Bryan Wasberg and Eric Chisholm led the scoring with two goals each. “I was very pleased with our team’s performance,” said Coach Dave McWatters. “We practiced hard the two days before the game, preparing for our long-term goals, so we were very tired for the Zeeland game. Zeeland is a very talented team, but we were able to tough out the win under challenging circumstances—another step forward.” “Going into the game, we knew we had to focus on doing what we do best,” said Schmitt. “We feel good about the way we played and about the results.” Over the weekend, Sept. 17-18, Rockford entered East Kentwood’s Falcon Invite, which found them in a bracket that featured four of the top five teams in the state. Friday night, Rockford—ranked second in the state—renewed their rivalry against East Kentwood—ranked fourth in the state. Rockford scored early and often, and displayed a suffocating defense. The result was an impressive 10-4 Ram victory. Ball movement was a key to the Ram scoring, with their 10 goals—including three each by Schmitt and Chisholm—coming on eight assists, including four by Wasberg. “We really wanted to beat East Kentwood this week, and were able to do so with a total team effort,” noted Schmitt. Saturday morning found the top two teams in the state, undefeated Ann Arbor Huron and Rockford, locked up in a nail-biter. The teams were tied at the half, but Huron opened the second half with two goals. Rockford responded with three of their own, and carried a 6-5 advantage into the fourth quarter. But […]