Five Things to Watch this Week

Tribune Staff • Apr 23, 2018 at 1:02 AM

The second winter has passed through West Michigan, with sunshine and warm temperatures clearing away the snow and ice that sabotaged the prep sports schedule last week.

As the weather heats up, so does the action on the playing fields, as Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Fruitport and Western Michigan Christian will look to get a full slate of games in during this next seven-day stretch.

Local and conference rivalries will be on full display this week, as Grand Haven and Spring Lake will clash in multiple sports, while some marquee league contests could prove to be deciding factors in championship races.

Here's a look at five events you won't want to miss this week.

Grand Haven girls tennis at Spring Lake

When: Today, 4 p.m.

Where: Spring Lake High School

Rivalry week kicks off with the Grand Haven girls tennis team traveling to Spring Lake today for a non-conference clash that holds bragging rights and plenty of intensity. The Buccaneers are coming off a big weekend at Holland Christian, where Grand Haven scored 20 points to take top honors at the event.

During the opening round of matches, Grand Haven met Spring Lake, with the Buccaneers coming away with an impressive 8-0 win. The Lakers will look to bounce back on their home courts, putting the weekend's results behind them and looking to turn the tide in the rivalry matchup with the team from across the drawbridge.


Grand Haven girls soccer vs. Rockford

When: Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven High School

The Grand Haven girls soccer team has hit the ground running this spring, with some marquee wins along the way. The Buccaneers (3-0-2) will host perennial O-K Red Conference rival Rockford on Tuesday night in what will be one of many important league games for the squad.

If the Buccaneers can continue their strong attack, led by forwards Alli Keyser and Jennifer Dear, they should have enough firepower to get past the Rams. The dynamic duo has helped the Bucs past O-K Red Conference foe East Kentwood (2-0) already and pushed the team to a draw with Hudsonville (1-1) last week.

With a three-game road stretch on the horizon, a home win over Rockford will be a big step toward conference title contention.


Grand Haven boys rugby vs. Portage

When: Wednesday, 6 p.m.

Where: Lakeshore Middle School

The Grand Haven boys rugby team is off to a strong start to their season, with back-to-back shutout wins in the past two weeks. The Buccaneers defeated Grand Rapids Catholic Central (32-0) and West Ottawa (40-0) and will face their toughest test to date Wednesday as they host a Portage squad that is one of the biggest in the state.

Portage is a combination of two powerhouse programs — Portage and Kalamazoo. If the Buccaneers can flex their muscles against the likes of Portage on Wednesday, they should have all the confidence they would need to make another run at a possible state championship game appearance.


Mike Bernard Memorial Tournament

When: Saturday, 10 a.m.

Where: Hickman Field in Spring Lake

The Spring Lake baseball team will host the Mike Bernard Memorial Tournament on Saturday in what has become a highlight of the team's season every spring. Spring Lake continues to honor the late Mike Bernard, who died from cancer in 2004. He was a long-time supporter of Spring Lake athletics and the team's announcer.

Spring Lake will host St. Joseph and Coldwater in this year's edition of the tournament, as the Lakers look to improve their record over the course of the week after a tough start to the season. After a 0-4 start, which saw the team lose three games by two runs or less, the Lakers scored a 10-4 win over Allendale. The squad will have seven games on their slate this week, so a few positive results could help the team turn things around in a hurry.

Lax Fest

When: Saturday

Where: Grand Haven High School

The Grand Haven and Spring Lake boys lacrosse programs will showcase the depth of their programs this weekend during the annual Lax Fest Tournament.

This year, Grand Haven will host the festivities, as every team from middle school to varsity will get their time to shine in front of a big crowd at Gene Rothi Field. The Buccaneer (2-3-2) and Laker (3-3) varsity squads have battled through some inconsistent play early on this season and appear to be heading in the right direction as of late.

After a 0-2-2 start for Grand Haven, the Buccaneers have won two of their last three contests. They will look for some home-crowd inspiration Saturday evening to help lift them past the Lakers.

The Lakers started 0-2 this spring, but have won three of their last four contests since that juncture. Last season, Grand Haven swept the series with dramatic wins of 10-5 and 9-7. The winner of this matchup won't get to celebrate for very long, however, as the two clubs will meet three days later for another local showdown.

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