That perception has been slowly changing. In fact, if opposing teams take that mindset against the Bucs this season, second-year head coach Ian Bosmeijer believes it will only play to his team’s advantage.
“I feel we have a group here that can compete with anyone on the west side of the state,” Bosmijer said, a Jenison graduate, who played the sport at the prep level and also at Grand Valley State. “These girls are hungry to compete at the state level. Now, I’m not sure we’re ready to win a state title just yet, but we can compete with anyone on our schedule.”
Bosmeijer’s squad finished 13-22 last season and must replace a pair of graduated all-conference performers in Allison Chidester and Kelly Reinhardt. Even facing that challenge, the Bucs’ head coach believes his squad can take the next step due to a group of athletes that are a year smarter and more experienced in the pool, including a handful who improved their skills during the summer.
One of the more dedicated to the sport is junior Sarah Snider, who Bosmeijer said “is a really gifted athlete,” and “can play anywhere.” Snider played with the Junior Olympics polo team in East Lansing during the summer and could be in store for a big season with the Bucs.
The Bucs’ senior leaders include Alyssia Land, who missed a good portion of last season due to gall bladder surgery. She’s expected to play at 2-meter and possibly be one of the team’s most explosive goal scorers. Bosmeijer also hopes senior Katelyn Brolick can be an offensive weapon from the outside.
Bosmeijer also calls Rachel Kilgroe a “very crafty, smart player,” who can create a lot of scoring chances.
On the Bucs’ counter attack, senior Carissa Winkler could shine because she’s a very strong swimmer. Talented junior Arica Beno will play at 2-meters and has shown a tendency to fire in goals with either hand, and is also an outstanding defensive player.
Maybe the Bucs’ biggest question mark will center around their goalie. The job will be handed to junior Stephanie Hoover, who was the Bucs’ JV net minder last season.
“She’s still adjusting to the speed of the game at the varsity level, but I feel by the end of the season, she’ll be more equipped to handle that,” Bosmeijer said.
Grand Haven was shorthanded at last weekend’s East Grand Rapids Early Bird Invitational due to a number of players being involved in the Catalina Club performance, but the Bucs still managed a 2-3 showing. Bosmeijer is anxious to see how his 12-person team competes at Grand Haven’s nine-team home invitational, which begins today at the Grand Haven Aquatic Center.