Buccaneer tennis completes conference
The Grand Haven boys tennis team took on the O-K Red Conference championship tournament Monday at Hudsonville, moving up one spot for a fifth-place finish.
With the fifth-place tournament finish, the Bucs tied with Grandville for fifth in the overall standings.
Noah Bachmann led the way, winning the O-K Red No. 1 singles title in dominant fashion, taking a 6-0, 6-0 win in the semifinals and a 6-2, 6-0 win in the finals, making it two straight No. 1 singles titles for the junior.
“Noah again dominated his opponents,” said Grand Haven head coach Chris Wilton. “He now has lost just three games in two years of conference tournament play at No. 1 singles, a ridiculous stat coming from our conference.”
It was a slow start for the Bucs as they picked up just two wins in the opening round of the tournament. Bachmann’s came first, complemented by a dramatic upset for the No. 7-seeded, No. 5 doubles team of Jaime Villar-Cabello and Joe Reformado as they took down the No. 2-seeded pair from Rockford.
In the second and third rounds, Grand Haven fared better. Senior Mason Price won two matches over opponents he lost to in the regular season at No. 2 singles to finish fifth overall. No. 3 singles Weston Taylor dropped a three-setter in the first round but came back to beat Grandville in three sets to claim sixth place. Senior Chris Akselberg did similarly, losing his first-round match before staging a massive comeback to take fifth place, defeating his Grandville opponent 0-6, 6-4, 7-5.
In doubles, Matt Bays and Josh Schmidt defeating Caledonia before falling to Grandville to finish in sixth place, while the No. 2 doubles team of Ian Rant and Carter Prieditis took a narrow loss before beating Grandville for fifth.
Aashray Madala and Brayden Rowley did the same at No. 3 doubles, narrowly dropping their first-round match before defeating Grandville for fifth place.
“Although the day didn’t start out perfectly, we did have everyone win a match and did pull off several upsets, which allowed us to move up in the standings,” Wilton said. “I am very happy for senior Mason Price, who was able to pull off two really nice wins. I also couldn’t be happier for senior Joe Reformando who has been in our program for many years and had a great day.”
The team will return to action at the regional tournament Thursday back at Hudsonville.
Buccaneer polo edges EGR
The Grand Haven boys water polo team traveled to East Grand Rapids for their second to last regular season contest Monday night, defeating the Pioneers 8-6.
A 3-3 tie at halftime motivated the Bucs’ offense in the third, as they netted three goals in two minutes to take a commanding lead, going on to outscore RGR 4-0 through the quarter.
Ethan Ball led the team with four assists and four steals, while Eli VandenBrand and Nick Wilson added four steals and one goal apiece. Jake Klayhorst and Michael MacDonald also scored for the Bucs. Goalie Mark Nordin played with vim, recording 15 blocks in net.
Junior varsity: The Grand Haven JV team fell to EGR, 6-2. Collin Kelly, Bryant Latchaw and Garret Barry made key plays to keep the Bucs in the game.
Buccaneer water polo undefeated at West Ottawa
The Grand Haven boys water polo team scheduled a last-minute trip to West Ottawa over the weekend for a Lakeshore romp. The Bucs finished 2-0-1 on the day with wins over Jenison and West Ottawa and a tie with Zeeland.
Due to the last-minute nature of the tournament, not all the varsity players could make it, giving a few junior varsity players a chance to get some full-speed action. The results were favorable, as the remixed roster defeated Jenison 12-2 and West Ottawa 8-3.
The rivalry match with Zeeland was the most compelling, as senior Mark Wilgenburg netted a goal with three seconds left to play to tie the game.
Thomas MacDonalds led the offense with 10 goals over the weekend, while Eli VandenBrand led the defense with 10 steals. Mark Nordin was dominant in goal with 28 saves while letting by nine goals and picking up one assist and two steals.
“All were good games,” said Grand Haven head coach Bill Hamm. “Fun competition and everyone got some good experience. We invited a few JV mates up to fill the roster, and It was great to see them match up against older, bigger boys. I think that experience will have huge payoffs for some of them as they take that experience and turn it into playing knowledge both this season and also the rest of their careers.”
As is typical in tournament play, the physical nature of water polo took over at times, but coach Hamm was proud of the way his players responded.
“The games in a tournament can get very physical as the boys fight fatigue, familiarity, and feeling out the referees,” Hamm said. “So, they can get tough to play and sometimes tough to watch, but I think the refs did a great job and the coaches kept everything under control. I have always said water polo is the toughest sport I have tried with the exception of wrestling and boxing. In those sports, someone is always trying to hurt you. Water polo, due to its grappling nature, is very similar except you have fewer refs per athlete to watch all the action, and you add the element of water to the equation which amplifies fatigue and anxiety. I was proud the boys played so hard and maintained their composure.”
Grand Haven will conclude their regular season with another trip West Ottawa this week.
Laker soccer cruises to conference win
The Spring Lake boys soccer team improved their winning streak to five games with a 5-0 victory over Coopersville on the road Saturday.
The game was a reschedule from earlier in the season, kicking off at an unusual 9 a.m. The early start time didn’t phase the Lakers as they put together a comprehensive win.
Tommy Fine and Malachi Mulder led the way with two goals apiece. Porter Saunders netted the fifth goal late in the game to round out the scoring.
The Lakers will look to continue their stretch of dominance as they celebrate senior night today vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central at home.
Laker JV volleyball performs in final tournament
The Spring Lake JV volleyball team concluded their season at Western Michigan Christian over the weekend, finishing 3-2. In pool play, the Lakers lost to Covenant Christian (25-13, 27-25), and beat Allendale (25-23, 25-8) and Oakridge (25-15, 25-21). In bracket play, they defeated WMC (25-22, 25-10) before losing to Forest Hills Eastern (25-21, 25-15) in the semifinals.
Alicia Mumby led the way with 18 kills, 13 blocks, eight digs and four aces. Kendra Kieft added 16 kills and a team-high 12 aces and 48 digs, while Kyla Kobylak added 30 assists, seven kills, 12 digs and three aces. Overall, the team is 18-9-2 and 5-3 in O-K Blue Conference play.
Trojan soccer slips past OV
The Fruitport boys soccer team took on Orchard View on Monday in a rescheduled game from Saturday, taking home a 3-2 victory.
The Trojans took an early lead on a goal by Bruce Lanore, assisted by Kaleb Krueger, before extending their halftime lead to 2-0 on a header goal by Cam Schultz.
Lanore struck again in the second half, assisted by Schultz to take a 3-0 lead. The Cardinals fought back, scoring goals with 16 and 12 minutes left to play, but couldn’t find the equalizer.
Connor Hines had nine saves in net for Fruitport.
“I thought the boys came out early and really established a good tempo and work rate,” said Fruitport head coach Dan Hazekamp. “We've worked on starting halves better and tonight it was good to get one in the first five minutes of each half. I thought Connor Hines, Austin Golden, Kaleb Krueger, Cam Schultz, and Bryce Lanore really stepped up tonight and had standout games. Orchard View is a dangerous team with good team speed. This was a good test as we prepare for districts next week.”
The Trojans return to action today as they take on Muskegon to wrap up O-K Black Conference play for the season.