The water polo team always draws a loyal crowd. ~ Photo by Tracy Saur
HUDSONVILLE - The post season is in full swing for high school men’s water polo. On Friday, Nov. 1, Rockford opened its play in the Michigan Water Polo Association (MWPA) West Regional Tournament with a 11-6 victory over West Ottawa. Elijah Chino scored 6 goals, while teammates, Nate Hopkins and Brenden Saur added 2 and Kyle Dedert also scored a goal. The Rams had 9 assists with 2 of them being from Dedert, while Ben Schuchardt, Hudson Verwys, Nick Deugaw, Christian Wagen, Saur and Chino each had 1. Saur led in steals with 3, Schuchardt and Verwys had 2 and Dedert had 1. Schuchardt’s 15 blocked shots was a key factor in the win.
Coach Craig Peterman was pleased with the team’s performance, saying it was a “Great win against a physical team.”
Saturday morning, the Rams took on the Buccaneers of Grand Haven. Goalie Ben Schuchardt put in another strong game between the pipes, blocking 16 shots, as the Rams beat the Bucs 10-8. Elijah Chino scored a goal every quarter to be the top scorer, followed by Kyle Dedert with 3, Nate Hopkins with 2 and Brenden Saur, who fired up the team by scoring the first goal of the day. Hopkins led in assists with 3, Schuchardt had 2 and Dedert, Nick Deugaw, Nolan Graalman, and Christian Wagen each had 1. Nate Cheney and Dedert led defensively with 2 steals apiece, and Chino, Hopkins and Wagen each contributed with a steal.
In the Regional Championship game, the Rams faced the Eagles of Hudsonville. The top-ranked Eagles proved to be formidable competition all weekend long—the Rams were the only team to score against the Eagles. The Rams played with grit, scoring 3 goals. Goalie Ben Schuchardt continued his strong play, blocking 14 shots. But, the Eagles broke through the Rams’ defense and scored 20 goals. Kyle Dedert scored twice and Elijah Chino found the back of the net once. Brenden Saur and Drew Bargwell assisted on two of those goals. Kyle Dedert was able to steal twice and teammates, Brenden Saur, Nick Deugaw and Chino added a steal each.
Coach Peterman described the 20-3 loss as a “Tough game against a strong team.”
Three of the Ram’s Seniors were recognized with several awards this past weekend. All-Conference team members named are Elijah Chino, Ben Schuchardt and Kyle Dedert (Honorable Mention). All-Region Season players named are Ben Schuchardt (First Team), Elijah Chino (First Team) and Kyle Dedert (Second Team). All-Region Tournament players are Ben Schuchardt (First Team), Elijah Chino (First Team), and Kyle Dedert (Second Team). Congratulations men!
Dexter claimed the East Regional Championship, while Ann Arbor Pioneer claimed runner-up. The State Tournament will take place on November 15 and 16 at East Lansing High School. With a No. 2 seed, the Rams are well-positioned to make a run deep into the tournament.