Prep roundup: SL girls golf running away with conference

Tribune Staff • Sep 19, 2017 at 12:33 AM

The Spring Lake girls golf team continues to play at a breakneck pace. After four competitions last week, they took on the Grand Rapids Catholic Central Jamboree Monday, taking home the O-K Blue Conference Jamboree win by 16 strokes, carding a 180.

NorthPointe Christian came in second with 196 strokes, ahead of Coopersville at 201, Allendale and West Catholic tied at 211, Catholic Central in fifth with 222 strokes, Comstock Park in sixth at 241 and Sparta in last at 261.

Phoebe Saunders took the lead for the Lakers at Quail Ridge, coming in at an even 40. Hannah Klein and Madelyn Nelson followed at 41, ahead of Alana Sprague at 58.

Head coach George Bitner acknowledged eight scheduled play dates in two weeks may be wearing the Lakers out, electing to cancel their contest with North Muskegon today.

“We played four times last week, then Madelyn played Saturday and Sunday in a state tournament,” he said. “Then we have three more scheduled this week. They just ran out of gas.

“It is a heady game, I think they went out there (Monday) knowing they had to play Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and got scared. Today will be a JV match now against North Muskegon.”

GH polo falls to Rockford

The Grand Haven water polo team took on defending state champion and current No. 1-ranked Rockford on the road Monday night, falling 19-8.

The Bucs hung around early, trailing 6-3 through the opening period and 12-8 at halftime. Rockford pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring Grand Haven 7-0. Neither team found the net in the final frame, bringing the game to its total score.

Senior Mason Fritz paced the offense with five goals, while fellow seniors Joshua Koornneef and Grant Ruster anchored the defense with four and three steals, respectively.

The Bucs struggled with penalties; taking eight ejections over the course of the game, while a predictable offense and outmatched defense served the Rams well. In addition, Rockford’s state championship squad only improved from a year ago, making this a tough matchup for Grand Haven.

“Offensively, we were one-dimensional,” Grand Haven head coach Bill Hamm said. “We were able to play well in the first half, but when only five boys even take shots, we are easy to cover.

“We will work on building their confidence, so they all know they can contribute on the scoring end of the pool. We need every player to be a threat at any moment.

“This is the first time since I have been here that we have ever been down by 10 goals or more, I also think it’s the first time we haven’t scored in an entire half.

“Now, Rockford is the state champion and they returned a very good, if not better team than last year’s squad. Our defense was not up to the task today.

“We couldn’t prevent the Rams from feeding the ball into the set position and ultimately allowed drive after drive. We could set certain personnel on individual players and take their main players out of their game, but ultimately, Rockford was able to get open shooters, which they have a lot of.”

The Bucs have some time off before they return to the pool to take on East Kentwood on Monday.

Junior varsity: The Grand Haven JV team also fell to Rockford on Monday, 10-6, scoring three goals in the third period and three in the fourth.

Freshman Thomas MacDonald led the way with two goals and three steals. The Bucs gave up 19 turnovers, contributing heavily to the Rockford offense.

“Our lack of ball protection, leading to transition defense play that was playing vertical in the water and not ready to getting back into position, was our downfall,” Hamm said. “A spirited second half was fun to play and watch, but it was too little, too late.

“Our JV is a young group, just freshmen and sophomores. They can play like pros at times, but there are too many other times they would rather wait for the game to come to them. Wait on defense and cover only the man closest to them instead of working a little extra to get back and clog the interior and play team defense.”

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