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Five Things to Watch This Week

Josh VanDyke • Sep 6, 2016 at 12:58 AM

After an extended holiday break, the prep sports season is rereleased today. With most sports already two to three weeks into the season, conference clashes begin to take place and garner even more attention and postseason implications.

Grand Haven volleyball quad

When: Wednesday, 5 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven High School

Teams: Grand Haven, Western Michigan Christian, Caledonia, Hamilton

The Grand Haven volleyball team has come flying out of the gates this fall season, compiling a 22-2 record through three weeks of competition.

The Buccaneers recently won its End of Summer Invitational, defeating Midland (25-16, 25-17), Stevensville Lakeshore (25-13, 25-20), and Forest Hills Central (25-20, 25-20) in the preliminary rounds before beating O-K Red foe Grandville in the semifinals (25-13, 19-25, 15-6) and Portage Central in the finals (25-22, 25-21).

Senior Katie Cole leads the team in assists and has become a regular on the stat sheet, often among the team leaders in aces and blocks as well. Senior Morgan Ross leads the team in kills with her thunderous outside hitting. Senior libero Sophie Newhouse continues to be the team leader in digs and also been active from the service line, recording nine aces at last Thursday’s invitational.

Other key contributors thus far for the Bucs include: junior Olivia Boeve, senior Claire Holman, senior Kennedi Bernia, senior Libby Cole and sophomore Avolyn Lepo.

Western Michigan Christian is coming off a strong performance at the Warrior Showdown on Aug. 27. The Warriors bounced back from a 0-3 start to win the silver division at the event at Western Michigan Christian High School.

In pool play, the Warriors dropped decisions to Ravenna (22-25, 25-17, 11-15), Morley Stanwood (15-25, 26-28) and Laingsburg (19-25, 16-25), placing them in the silver division for bracket play.

In bracket play, WMC defeated Holton (25-22, 25-23) and Covenant Christian (25-23, 25-19) to take first-place honors in the silver bracket.

Senior Cassie Kingma recorded 50 kills and 39 digs to lead the Warriors (7-8-1), while Ashley Sandin added eight aces, 32 digs and 116 assists; Jesse Eekhoff added 24 kills and nine blocks and Haylee Moser added 52 digs.

Spring Lake football vs. Sparta

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Grabinski Field in Spring Lake

The Spring Lake football team has suffered through two heartbreaking losses to start the 2016 season. First-year head coach Daniel Start has the Lakers competing at a high level, but turnovers and penalties combined with a 17-player roster have resulted in losses to Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian (28-27) and Fruitport (14-13).

The Lakers open O-K Blue Conference play with a home game against Sparta (0-2), who defeated Fremont (39-0) in Week 1, but dropped a 35-7 decision to Cedar Springs in Week 2. The Lakers defense has dominated so far this season, led by junior defensive end/outside linebacker Griffin Lorimer and senior linebackers Josef Hissom and Drew Cather. If the Spring Lake offense can avoid turnovers and get athletes like senior quarterback Cam Ball and tailback Isaiah Pierce out into open space, they may came away with their first win of the season and a great start to the conference schedule.

Fruitport football vs. Muskegon

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Doc Pierce Field in Fruitport

The Fruitport football team dropped its opener to Coopersville at Grand Valley State University’s Lubbers Stadium, but bounced back with an emotional 14-13 win over Spring Lake last Thursday.

The Trojans will need to bring their A-game on Friday, however, as the Muskegon Big Reds visit Doc Pierce Field after blowing out Ann Arbor Pioneer (51-14) and Lincolnshire Stevenson of Illinois to open their 2016 campaign.

The key for the Trojans will be whether their offensive and defensive lines can hold up against the Big Reds. Both teams pride themselves in running the football and playing physical, disciplined defense, so the team that carves out more rushing yards will likely win.

Shootout on the Shore Water Polo tournament

When: Friday-Saturday

Where: Grand Haven Aquatic Center and West Ottawa High School

Teams: Grand Haven, West Ottawa, Rockford, East Grand Rapids, Hudsonville, Jension, East Kentwood, Zeeland, Holt, Okemos, Saline, Grand Ledge, Grandville, Ann Arbor Huron, Birmingham Seaholm.

The Grand Haven water polo team dropped its first four matches of the season without several of its key players, but has bounced back to a 3-5 mark. The Bucs recently defeated No. 5 Zeeland, 13-8, and cracked the top 10 of the Michigan Water Polo Association’s rankings at No. 8 in the state.

An impressive field will test the team at this year’s Shootout on the Shore tournament, with six top 10 teams in the fold, including No. 1 Rockford; No. 2 Okemos; No. 3 Hudsonville; No. 4 Ann Arbor Huron and No. 5 Zeeland all competing in the two-day tournament.

West Ottawa Cross Country Invitational

When: Saturday, 9 a.m.

Where: West Ottawa High School

Teams: Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Byron Center, East Kentwood, Forest Hills Northern, Whitehall, Zeeland West, Kenowa Hills, Grand Rapids Union, Grandville, Holland, West Ottawa, Lowell and Tri-Unity Christian

The Grand Haven and Spring Lake boys and girls cross country teams will compete at the same event this weekend, as both the Bucs and Lakers will take part in the West Ottawa Bredeweg Invitational at West Ottawa High School on Saturday.

The Grand Haven girls team is led by sophomore standout Gabby Hentemann, sophomore Abby Buitenhuis, senior Eliza Lowe, junior Emily Mattson and senior Andrea Strainer.

The Grand Haven boys team is led by junior Jack Nicholson, senior Quentin Couvelaire, senior Eric Johnson, senior Dominic Hentemann and sophomore Dominic Weatherwax.

The Spring Lake girls team is led by sophomore Annie Cooper, freshman Maggie Cooper, freshman Taylor Rebone, junior Maddy Windberg and sophomore Elizabeth Penrice.

The Spring Lake boys team is led by sophomore Andrew Hylen, junior Cameron Thalhammer, senior Matt Schmidt, sophomore Ben Hylen and junior Will Brown.

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