Boys Top Ten - Week One
The MWPA Boys Week One Poll has been released following the opening week of competition in the return to Fall Boys Water Polo. Below is a breakdown of the week that was for each team.
#1 Hudsonville Eagles
The Eagles began their defense of their four consecutive title with a mostly resounding and loud introduction to the FALL 2022 squad. Just two months removed from their gritty State Championship Victory, the new Eagles carved out an identity for themselves, scoring 39 times in three games, including a double-digit victory over the runners up from a few months ago. Josh Ahrendt's Eagles got a test from Rockford in a four-goal win, their closest of the Grand Haven opening tournament, but appear to be settling into their swing nicely.
#2 Ann Arbor Skyline Eagles
Idle last week, the Eagles finished third in the state two months ago in their home pool. Amongst returners are Super Center Jack Staunton and a goalkeeper that can turn any game on its head in Ian Root. Ashley Hower's crew can be a true contender again this season if the group learns from their experiences of the last postseason and applies themselves with their impressive talent.
#3 Jenison Wildcats
Well we're loud and clear now it appears - Jason Sweedyk's Wildcats of the 2022 Spring Season do not appear to be any sort of anomaly. They are again, real good. Their defeat of Rockford in the Grand Haven tournament this past weekend. Their near double-digit defeat of another team in the top six was another nice result for the Wildcats who returned a stellar roster from their state tournament trip last spring.
#4 Rockford Rams
One thing for sure, they are going to play a lot, if not the most games in the state. Already at eight games (played over eight days) Rockford is getting themselves battle-tested, no surprise knowing Craig Peterman's style. Their weekend was a bit of a see-saw affair, but the results, especially early, were mostly strong. They played Hudsonville within four goals in a loss, then turned around and took out #2 Pioneer in a close game the next morning. They fell to Jenison, then rebounded with a double-digit win over Zeeland who had a solid weekend themselves.
#5 Ann Arbor Pioneer Pioneers
If you could define a Don Packard team's blue print in a cliché: "It's a marathon, not a sprint," is probably the best you can do. They went West, got some games in against good teams, took a few lumps, got a nice win over now #3 Jenison and played a good Rockford team close. As they work to learn about themselves, expect to see up and down results, but with the State Tournament MVP back and a few other good weapons, Pioneer has every opportunity to be one of the state's better teams.
#6 Birmingham Groves Gators
Idle last week but back in the water for the first time tonight, the Gators have some learning to do themselves....they graduated a ton. But their varsity roster is stocked with juniors and seniors, and they bring back their starting goalkeeper from last spring as well. Under the direction of George Googasian, Groves should be an interesting watch as we get to know their new identity.
#7 Birmingham Seaholm Maples
The Maples played just once last week but picked up a nice win over Dexter to open their season last week. Josh Stephens' squad is as high in the rankings as they've been in a few years early this year. Seaholm is headed for the Pioneer Early Bird this weekend and will see some stiff competition from Pioneer themselves as well as St. Xavier (Ohio). Seaholm brings back a pair of their award winning players from a year ago in Gregg and Bukowinski and is loaded with seniors, giving them an experienced group looking to get back to the State Tournament.
#8 Grand Haven Buccaneers
The Buccaneers picked up a ranked win, took a ranked loss, then got a narrow win against a solid Dexter team. All things considered, not a bad opening for Bill Hamm's Buccaneers to open the year. The Buccaneers finished the season playing really strong polo last Spring after a slow start to the season. In a district with stiff competition, Grand Haven will need that late-season surge they had last spring to carry over with the returners.
#9 Ann Arbor Huron River Rats
It was a shorthanded group this past weekend for the River Rats who went West to see some good competition, and despite falling a bit in the rankings this week, there's still things to like about the group. They have one of the state's best players in Graham Baker, and Paul Barnett's crew got a chance to develop some of their other talent last weekend. Baker finished the year well over 100 goals, but secondary scoring will be a big key to see if the Rats improve on their standing from a year ago.
#10 East Grand Rapids Pioneers
The Pioneers played just exhibition contests last weekend, so while their season is yet to fully get under way, here's what we know: their star Logan McCahill returns, as well as Nathan Rose up front. In goal, Jacob Klug is back for the Pioneers. That said, their roster features nine freshmen. They're young now, but should Raheem Brown retain the group well, it's one he has an opportunity to develop into a very experienced squad over the next few years.
On the Line: Zeeland (101), East Lansing (84), Dexter (80)
Understanding the Poll: The poll, open to all MWPA Head Coaches, is ranked via a point-percentage scoring model. The points column is percentage of points scored by voters against the maximum total, which is based on number of voters. The period that would signify percentage has been dropped off the beginning of each number.
Unanimous first place ranking nets a score of 1,000 points.
Coaches vote weekly during the season. Polls will be updated Monday afternoons at 3 pm ET. Inquiries on the poll can be directed to the chat feature on the MWPA website. Answering times may vary.