The Rams were on the road Tuesday, and added another shutout to the season in a match against the Grand Haven Buccaneers. The lone goal for the Rams was scored by Junior Eli Appleby who hit a 30-yard shot early in the first half. Tuesday’s 1-0 win was the RAMS’ first on Grand Haven turf in five years. The RAMS hosted the East Kentwood Falcons on Thursday in a packed stadium. Rams’s senior Dewey Lewis posted a big score early in the game and Rockford’s defense stood strong until a Falcons’ header deflection from a free kick pushed the match to 1-1. The tie held until the final two and a half minutes of the game when the Falcons managed to mount a strong offensive push and buried a shot into the net. The Rams were unable to answer offensively during the second half. The final game of the week came Saturday as the Rams hosted Forest Hills Eastern. Forest Hills scored first, but the Rams answered with a shot by Appleby from a sideline throw-in by Lewis. The match ended in a 1-1 tie, bringing the Rams record to 12-2-4 for the season. The Rams are currently ranked #2 in both the OK Red Conference and the State. Out of 18 games, 12 have been shut outs and five of the remaining games posted just one goal against our tough Rams defense. Scoring events have been posted by 10 different players so far this season.
The JV Rams began a busy three-game schedule on Tuesday the 25, with a trip to Grand Haven. The boys fought hard enough to earn three goals in the game. Joel Pietula and Danny Waite drove in winning kicks, while Evan Reierson scored on a penalty kick. Goalkeeper Justin Majeski made several great saves throughout the game, with strong performances by the defense to help him out in front of the net. Alas, the Buccaneers were able to score three goals as well, resulting in a 3-3 tie. On the 27th, the Rams met their East Kentwood rivals at Rams Stadium. East Kentwood fought hard to score, but again, keeper Majeski, with impressive work as well from the defenders, was able to prevent EK from scoring. The Rams shut them out 1-0, with a lone goal scored by Danny Waite. To finish the week, the Rams hosted Forest Hills Eastern on Saturday, the 29th. Obviously the stronger team, the Rams dominated play the entire game. With some excellent passing and quick footwork, the Rams were able to score five goals with nothing scored for the Hawks, and the entire bench was cleared for parts of the game as every player had the opportunity for some playing time. The boys look forward to their battle at West Ottawa on Tuesday, and at home against Hudsonville this week.
by IAN PURVIS and JACKIE HOLLAND-DECKER The Rockford girls varsity soccer team may be one of the area’s best kept secrets, but the word is going to get out. After a dismal 1-0 loss to Grandville on Wednesday, April 15, the Rams came back with impressive shutouts against Hudsonville Friday night, April 17, and the area’s top-ranked team, East Grand Rapids, on Saturday, April 18. The victories over the weekend excited coach Amira Ponne and should be a wake-up call to the Rams’ future foes. “It was great! They needed that,” said Ponne of the unranked Rams. “This team doesn’t know how good it is. We have made so much progress. We are going to peak at the right time. We definitely are not the same team as we were on Wednesday.” In the home game against Grandville, the Rams were out of sync. After only two days of practice after the week-and-a-half spring break, the Rams struggled in all aspects of the game. Grandville outran Rockford, won the 50/50 balls, communicated better, and maintained better control to set up shooting opportunities. Grandville senior Tricia Bajema scored the lone goal of the contest, sending the ball just over Rockford goalkeeper Kristin Darby’s head with 1:55 left in the first half.”It wasn’t that they were so fast,” noted Ponne after the loss. “It’s just that we were so out of our game. We looked tired compared to them.” After losing to Grandville, the Rams felt like they needed to redeem themselves. A day of practice made all the difference when Friday night rolled around. The Rams came away with a 1-0 win thanks to some strong offense, gutsy defense, and great saves by Darby in the closing minutes as the Eagles pressed hard. It was a tight game throughout, with the Rams building the attack better and looking much more confident than in their previous game. But the Eagles’ back four repeatedly picked off the through-ball and their keeper came very quickly off her line to clean up anything chipped over the top. Rockford’s sophomore center midfielder Sydney Benda had a busy game, earning a free kick just outside the penalty area when she was taken down on an attacking run. Sam Decker […]
by JACKIE HOLLAND-DECKER and IAN PURVIS If the Rockford girls varsity soccer team’s defense was a welcoming committee, the reception last week would have been as cold as the weather. The Rams’ stingy backfield allowed no goals to be scored against them in the second week of play. Goalie Kristin Darby-assisted by the four diamond defense of Kayla Knoll, Lyndsey Hutchings, Celine Stalmer and Sam Decker, with help from the midfield and even the forwards-kept non-league foes Cedar Spring and Forest Hills Eastern (FHE) out of the net. “We can play defense all over the field,” said Coach Amira Ponne about the 0-0 tie against FHE Friday night. “Our whole team played defense and that kept them from scoring goals. They are a great team, but we kept our composure and didn’t let them score. Kayla Knoll was amazing. If not for her, they would have had a couple of goals. Sydney Benda did a great job of marking number three.” Going into the game, Ponne knew the host Hawks would be a foe of concern. Having played against them last year at the junior varsity level when she coached Rockford’s JV, she said, “We were evenly matched, and I remembered they had a lot of small, quick girls. Defending that can be a difficulty. I knew it could be anybody’s game. In the first half, they definitely took our key players out of the game,” adding that the Hawks communicated and passed well, forcing the Rams to chase after them. Her talk at halftime sparked a better second half. “We made some adjustments and possessed the ball longer in the second half,” added Ponne. Darby, in her fourth year in the net for the Rams, had a big night against the host Hawks as well. She had 15 saves, including one head-to-head collision with FHE’ Morgan Behm, who chipped a tooth from the impact. The Rams’ offense didn’t put too much pressure on FHE’s goalie Michelle Marcus, however, making only seven shots on goal, none of them threatening. “We didn’t get very good shots off, and their sweeper [junior Ann Kennedy] was amazing,” Ponne said. Against the Red Hawks, the Rams got off to a slow start. However, Ponne said of the second half, […]