Jenison, Mich. – In a matchup of the Michigan Water Polo Association’s (MWPA) #2 ranked Grandville Women’s Water Polo team and the #3 Rockford Rams, the Grandville Bulldogs pulled a come-from-behind victory away from the Rams by a 9-7 final at the Jenison JV/Varsity invite.
The Rams sprinted ahead to a 3-0 lead, but Grandville went on an 8-1 tear to take an 8-4 lead into the fourth quarter before hanging on for a 9-7 victory over the rival Rams.
“That was an ugly start and an ugly finish,” Head Coach Mitch Fountain said after the game. “Thankfully we turned it on enough in the middle of the game to come away with this one. It still leaves the lesson to be learned that regardless of any external adversity we face, we need to come ready to play.”
Sophomore Chloe Graverson passed the 30-goal mark on the season when she netted her second of four goals in the contest for the Bulldogs. Junior Sammy DeYoung scored twice, while senior captain Julia Veenkamp, junior Carolyn Peterson and sophomore Lucy Baker also picked up a goal in the contest.
In goal, senior captain and goaltender Rachel Veenkamp made 11 saves and picked up two assists, a steal and blocked penalty-shot attempt from Rockford in the game. Veenkamp has now blocked 2-of-3 when facing penalty-shot attempts on the season.
“She made some big saves when we needed them and was awesome passing the ball,” assistant coach Harrison Watt said. “Maybe a few she’d want back, especially early. Not her finest outing. But she made a couple of snap decisions that Mitch and I were initially worried about until they turned into goals. She’s too smart for me sometimes.”
Defensively, sister Julia Veenkamp had two steals. Peterson made a pair of steals and drew two exclusions. Her goal was the first of the season, and it came as the game-winner.
With the win, the Bulldogs took a 2-1 advantage over the Rams on the season series. None of the games have been separated by more than two goals, and both teams have been ranked in the top three in the state in every meeting.
Grandville improved to 13-1 while winning their ninth consecutive contest. The remainder of the Jenison JV/Varsity Invitational has been canceled due to inclement weather concerns. The Bulldogs will have to wait out their next game until they see the currently fourth-ranked Zeeland Chix in District play on Wednesday, April 18 at 7 pm at Zeeland.