Hudsonville continued it’s march toward the State Tournament at Saline this weekend with a Regional Runner Up finish with wins against Grandville and Jenison, and a close loss to Rockford in the finals.
The must win game for the top seeded District 1 Champion Eagles was the 4th seeded Grandville Bulldogs from District 2.
The Eagle’s defense held Grandville scoreless in the first half of play while the offense put up 10 goals. The second half saw freshman goalie Ethan Springer get his first pool time in the post-season taking over for Gerrit Baker. Springer finished out the game with 3 blocks and 4 goals allowed. The game ended with a score of 16-4 with Hudsonville clutching the State Tournament spot.
Leading the scoring for Hudsonville was Ethan Jones and Austin Atwood with 3 goals each. Drew Boeve and Lucas Petzold both put up 2. Anthony Shepard, Jason Dalman, Wesley Fields, Aaron Luyk, Harrison Friar and Drew Miller all added a goal to the total.
With Jenison winning their opening match against East Grand Rapids, the semi-finals became a rematch of the Distrct 1 semis with Hudsonville and Jenison facing off.
Anthony Shepard won the opening sprint for the Eagles, a feat that he repeated 3 more times. A goal by Drew Boeve gave Hudsonville the early lead. Another 2 goals by Noah Beyer furthered that lead, while a goal by Jenison’s Blake Kunzi kept them within striking distance to finish the first quarter with a score of 3-1.
In the second quarter Noah Beyer and Blake Kunzi traded goals to push the score to 4-2 at the end of the first half.
Having scored 3 of the Eagle’s 4 goals in the first half, Noah Beyer started the second half of play quickly being ejected from the game after receiving his third kick-out. Jenison was quick to strike after, with goals by Abe VanderTuin, Ben Moss, and Sean Roon to give themselves a 3 goal quarter. However Hudsonville goals by Lucas Petzold and Drew Boeve continue the Eagle’s lead into the fourth 6-5.
The fourth quarter turned the game into even more of a defensive match-up with both team’s holding the other scoreless despite many opportunities for both teams. The game finished with back-to-back timeouts within the final 36 seconds, with both team’s scoring attempts being stopped by the opposing goalies. Final score – Hudsonvile 6, Jenison 5.
Scoring for the Eagles was Noah Beyer with 3, Drew Boeve with 2, and Lucas Petzold with 1. Goalie Gerrit Baker stopped 76% of Jenison’s shots that were heading into the goal.
The championship came down to the only team in the region that Hudsonville had yet to beat, Rockford.
Anthony Shepard won the opening sprint for the Eagles, but it was the Rams who took control of the quarter with 2 goals by Sam Sikkema, a third by Chad Greenberg, and a fourth by Alec Cutler. Meanwhile their defense, lead by goalie Christian Williams, held the Eagle’s scoreless.
That trend continued into the second with another sprint won by Shepard, but Rockford shutting down the Eagle’s offense. Additional goals by Cutler and Greenberg gave Rockford a 6-0 lead at the end of the first half of play.
The Eagles were the first to strike in the second half with Jason Dalman putting them on the board, converting on a man advantage. Rockford answered back with another Sam Sikkema goal. Hudsonville responded with their own scoring run, starting with another advantage goal by Jason Dalman. After getting a stop on Rockford’s next possession, it was another advantage goal scored by Noah Beyer, which he followed up with a fast break goal in their next possession. Minutes later Lucas Petzold converted another man advantage into a goal for the Eagles, and then had the assist to Dalman who got his second goal of the quarter to finish the scoring run he started. Having outscored the Rams 5-1, the Eagles were back within striking distance, going into the fourth down 5-7.
Dalman put up his third goal of the game to put Hudsonville within 1 to start off the fourth quarter. A Rockford goal by Jacob Newberger pushed their lead back to 2. A second Petzold goal put the Eagles back within 1, followed by another Sam Sikkema goal to give Rockford back their 2 point lead at the halfway mark of the fourth.
Trailing Rockford 7-9, with 3:32 left on the game clock, and possession at Rockford’s 2 meter line, Hudsonville coach Josh Ahrendt attempted to call a time-out. Before he could successfully finish, the Hudsonville players had started play by passing the ball in. With the ball in mid-air the officials ruled that the time-out was called without possession and Hudsonville was penalized with a Rockford 5 meter. Sam Sikkema took, and made, the shot for the Rams, widening their lead to 3.
The game concluded with additional goals by Greenberg and Jack Sikkema for Rockford, and a fast-break goal by Austin Atwood for the Eagles.
Final score – Rockford 12, Hudsonville 8.
Leading the scoring for the Eagle’s was Jason Dalman with 3 goals and 1 assist. Lucas Petzold and Noah Beyer both contributed 2 goals and 1 assist. Austin Atwood rounded out with the scoring with 1 goal. Goalie Gerrit Baker added to assists while stopping 56% of the Rockford shots bound for the goal. Drew Boeve added in the final assist.
Hudsonville heads into the State Tournament at Saline with a quarterfinal match-up against Dexter at 5:15pm on the 13th. If you can’t make it out you can follow @HHSWaterPolo for live scoring updates for Hudsonville’s games. You can also follow @MWPAChampionships for tournament updates all weekend long.