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Five Things to Watch this Week

Josh VanDyke • Sep 19, 2016 at 6:30 AM

It’s a big week for local rivalries and special events. Spring Lake and Fruitport will meet on the volleyball court, while Grand Haven will host O-K Red Conference rival Rockford on the gridiron.

There are plenty of other exciting prep sports events this week, but here are five that highlight the schedule this week.

Grand Haven water polo at Rockford

When: Tonight, 7 p.m.

Where: Rockford High School

The Grand Haven boys water polo team struggled out of the gate this season, but has found its groove as of late. The Buccaneers are coming off a strong showing at the East Kentwood Invitational, finishing 3-1.

Junior Mason Fritz has been the Bucs (10-8) best player on both offense and defense so far this season, leading the team in both goals and steals. Senior Grant Ruster and junior Josh Koornneef have also been big contributors on offense, while junior keeper Matt Beals has anchored a strong defense for the Bucs.

The team travels to take on Rockford (19-2) tonight. The Rams have been a state power over the years and show no signs of slowing down this season. The road to the state championship will likely go through Rockford, so a road win tonight would be a huge step forward for a Grand Haven program that is on rise.

Grand Haven soccer at East Kentwood

When: Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

Where: East Kentwood High School

The Grand Haven boys soccer team has recorded big O-K Red Conference wins over West Ottawa, Hudsonville and Grandville so far this season, but lost a narrow decision to Rockford in recent weeks.

The team travels to East Kentwood (5-1-4, 3-1-1 O-K Red) on Tuesday in a key conference clash. The Bucs (4-2-4, 1-0-1 O-K Red) hope to make a statement with a big conference road win.

Forwards Ethan King, Drew Van Andel, Conner Lund and Tavin Ardell have all proven to be scoring threats for the Bucs on offense, while the defense has been held opponents in check so far this season.

Spring Lake volleyball at Fruitport

When: Wednesday, 7:15 p.m.

Where: Fruitport High School

Spring Lake and Fruitport are both comprised of youth and inexperience this season. The teams have battled through those deficiencies to put together some success in their new conferences.

The Lakers (7-9, 2-1 O-K Blue) are led by seniors Olivia Grimmer and Isabel Donnelly and junior Lauren Hellman. The team hopes to steal a road win from cross-town rival Fruitport in the team’s only head-to-head meeting this season.

The host Trojans (10-10) are led by senior Katie Veihl, senior Rebekah Busscher and sophomore Kylie Oberlin. Fruitport defeated the Lakers 3-1 at home last fall, and will be looking to defend their home court in this heated, now non-conference, rivalry.

Grand Haven volleyball vs. Hudsonville

When: Thursday, 7 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven High School

The Grand Haven volleyball team will be hosting Hudsonville on Thursday in a key O-K Red Conference matchup. While the action on the court is reason enough to attend the event, the night will also be special for other reasons. The Bucs will be putting on its annual Bucs Pride Night, which helps raise awareness for cancer research.

Grand Haven will wear purple jerseys in honor of the event, and proceeds from admission will be donated to cancer research.

The Bucs (30-3) are powered by their strong senior leadership, led by Miss Volleyball candidate Katie Cole, outside hitter Morgan Ross, libero Sophia Newhouse and middle blocker Claire Holman.

Grand Haven football vs. Rockford

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Buccaneer Stadium

The Grand Haven football team bounced back from a disappointing road loss to Grandville in Week 3 with a dominate second-half performance against West Ottawa last Friday. After falling behind 23-21, the Bucs shut down the Panthers for a 42-23 road win.

The Bucs now turn their attention to O-K Red power Rockford, who have reeled off two straight wins since starting off the season 0-2. The Bucs haven’t defeated the Rams since a 26-23 win in 2010.

With both teams sitting at 2-2 overall, the loser of this game will be facing an uphill climb towards qualifying for the playoffs.

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