A team on a mission.
That’s the only way you could describe the state tournament weekend for the Okemos Girls Water Polo team. Two weekends ago at regionals, the team was pushed to the brink and back with a pair of close games. Their reward for surviving the weekend was a date with the two time defending state champion Rockford Rams in the state quarterfinal round. The state championship over the last four years has gone through either Rockford or Okemos, and this year proved to be no different.
Okemos 10 Rockford 7
The Chiefs used a four goal third quarter to open up a very close game. Great ball movement and team defense made the difference as the Chiefs turned a 5-4 halftime score into a 9-4 game by the end of the third quarter. The lead would climb to 10-4 before Rockford scored three unanswered right at the end of the game to get to the 10-7 final. Sydney Fountain paced the game with four goals, Katie Dudley added two, Emily Wozena, Isabella Morris, Abby Baron, and Sarah Williams had one goal each.
The superb passing and teamwork was very evident as eight of the ten goals had assists with Emily Wozena tallying six, Alex Chow with one, and Molly Schools with one. In goal, Rachel Sternik was rock solid once again stopping 10 shots.
Okemos 10 Hudsonville 2
With the victory over Rockford, Okemos was set to face-off against Hudsonville in the state semi-finals. Once again great teamwork in both the offensive and defensive side of the pool overwhelmed the Eagles. Hudsonville got off to a quick start jumping out to a 1-0 lead, but Okemos would tally the next nine goals en route to the 10-2 victory. Katie Dudley and Sarah Williams paced the team with three goals each. Sydney Fountain added two, Emily Wozena and Isabella Morris had one each.
The assists were plentiful in this game as well as 7 of the 10 goals had assist tallies. Sarah Williams paced the team with two. Alex Chow, Katie Dudley, Jennifer Przybylo, Emily Wozena, and Sydney Fountain each had one. Rachel Sternik once again proved to be great in goal stopping 12 shots for the game.
With the win, the Chieftains would be entering their fourth state championship game in the past five seasons, the last coming in 2012.
Okemos 12 Ann Arbor Huron 1
In a weekend where it looked like the Chiefs simply weren’t going to be denied, the 2014 varsity squad completed their main team goal with a convincing 12-1 victory over #2 ranked Ann Arbor Huron to win their 3rd state championship in the past five years.
In what was a flawless performance, the Chiefs tallied the first nine goals in the game building a 3-0 first quarter and 8-0 halftime lead. Katie Dudley lead the team with five goals in the game, but the scoring came from all over the place as each starter put at least one in the goal. Sydney Fountain had two, Molly Schools, Alex Chow, Emily Wozena, Sarah Williams, and Abby Baron each scored once. The great teamwork on the offensive end was there once again as eight assists were tallied for the game. Alex Chow had two, Katie Dudley, Emily Wozena, Sydney Fountain, Abby Baron, Molly Schools, and Sarah Williams had one each. In goal, Rachel Sternik proved why she’s one of, if not the best goalie in the state stopping ten shots for the game. Sophomore Dawn Hawkins entered in the fourth quarter and made a great save on the only shot she faced.
The weekend victory means the squad ended the season with a 29-1 record, the lone loss coming at the hands of #1 ranked and 2014 Illinois state champions Fenwick High School (whom the Chieftains also defeated once this season).
There were a handful of individual honors as well. Katie Dudley earned first team all-state for the season as well as took home the top honor of state MVP. Sarah Williams was rewarded as second team all-state for the season, and Sydney Fountain was selected as honorable mention all-state.