Third-year Grand Haven varsity girls water polo coach Ian Bosmeijer said one posititive that has stuck out with his Buccaneers’ squad so far this spring is their competitive nature.
Their drive to turn in a winning season and a potential lengthy postseason run has the Bucs mimicing other recent Grand Haven squads that have enjoyed similar success.
“This is a great group of athletes and they all want to be competitors,” Bosmeijer said. “They want to compete for championships. They want to emulate programs of some of the other Grand Haven teams, like the girls’ basketball team, or the football team that enjoyed success a couple years ago.
“The west side of the state is wide open this year, too,” he added. “If they work harder than their competition, there’s a better chance to break away from the pack.”
Bosmeijer believes he has the right formula to achieve that goal, with eight seniors, an emerging goalie and a greater emphasis on creating turnovers and scoring on the counter attack. The mix has worked well thus far, with Grand Haven sporting a 5-2 record entering Spring Break, which included head-to-head wins over Portage Northern and Grandville and a strong showing at the Bucs’ home Shootout at the Shore invitational.
Leading the Bucs’ defensive charge is senior Sarah Snider, who Bosmeijer isn’t afraid to give high praise.
“She’s a returning all-conference, all-region two-meter defender,” he said. “She’s probably one of the best at her position in the state. Her other real strength is distributing the ball and finding open teammates.”
Snider has a lot of valuable offensive weapons to distribute the ball to, including senior Carly Gillissie, the Bucs’ main two-meter offensive players; senior Hailee Garbarino; and senior Arica Beno, who possesses good size and speed as the team’s secondary two-meter scoring threat.
The team’s other key seniors are Laurel Rock, who Bosmeijer calls the team’s most aggressive defender; Katie McCarthy, who is also sparking the Bucs’ aggressive defensive approach, and goalie Stephanie Hoover. Hoover picked up a shutout against Portage Northern and Bosmeijer said she was critical down the stretch in a one-goal victory against Grandville.
The Bucs also have a strong collection of talented underclassmen, including junior Jessica Hentschel, a two-meter defender who led the JV team in steals a year ago, but who is equally dangerous firing the ball on goal.
“She’s a strong perimeter shooter,” he said. “She’s already beaten a lot of good goalies. She really can shoot from anywhere.”
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