West Region Championship

Rockford water polo qualifies for state tournament

November 5, 2009 // 0 Comments

The first Saturday semifinal match pitted Rockford against a very strong East Kentwood squad. The Falcons kept the Rams off balance for most of the game, pulling away in the third period and holding on for a 5-2 victory. “We didn’t perform the way we’re capable of performing,” McWatters summed up, “and we were outplayed by a very good team.” The final challenge for the Rams was to regroup and take on the Grandville Bulldogs in the consolation match. The Rams scored three early goals, but Grandville answered each time. Grandville then pulled ahead in the second period and carried a two-goal lead into the fourth period. That’s when Rockford senior Derik Bothma put on a performance for the ages. “I took it personally,” said Bothma. “I didn’t want to see our team lose another game, and wanted to do everything I could to help us avoid that.” Bothma first found junior Jeff Schmitt open in front of the net for a goal that pulled the Rams within one and gave the team some much-needed hope. He then went on a scoring tear, putting the Rams ahead for good with a trio of spectacular shots. Rockford ended up on top 10-7. Bothma finished with five goals, and fellow senior Connor Thelen added two. In addition to a goal, Schmitt chipped in with four assists. Three Rams were honored at the end of the tournament. Junior Pat Fase and senior Kyle Peterson were named All Region second team. Bothma was named All Region first team. “We had an up-and-down weekend,” concluded Thelen, “but we ended strong. Now we want to carry that momentum on to state.”