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  • Writer's pictureMWPA News Wire

MWPA Announces Week 4 Players of the Week

The Michigan Water Polo Association (MWPA) has announced their week four District Players of the Week, a full eight-player slate for the first time in Association history.

A breakdown of the week that was for each of them can be found below.

District 1, Girls | Marley Persch - #2 ranked Hudsonville Eagles

The three-time defending state champion Hudsonville Eagles returned to action and made some serious noise this week, much aided by Marley Persch. Persch scored nine times, dished out nine helpers, added 14 steals and seven drawn exclusions in four games as Ian Hewett's Eagles opened a perfect 4-0. Persch is amongst the small group of Eagles with significant returning experience, and it showed bit-time this week.

District 1, Boys | Colin McDowell - #1 ranked Hudsonville Eagles

McDowell put up some big numbers in the Hudsonville boys return to play. The Eagles dominated, and McDowell averaged four goals per game. He had four assists, five steals and drew a staggering nine exclusions for Josh Ahrendt's defending state champion Eagles as they downed previously unbeaten #4 Ann Arbor Pioneer, as well as current state #2 Rockford.

District 2, Girls | Claire Witting - #1 ranked East Grand Rapids Pioneers

The goal total alone for the Indiana commit is unfair. 24 tallies in six games (or four per game, if our math can be trusted) for Witting as the Pioneers returned to action this week. Witting also had 21 (!!!!) steals, drew five exclusions and 14 helpers. Justin Hulsebus' Pioneers turned heads this week, as did Claire as they ripped off six straight wins to open their season including topping #1 Rockford and then #3 Grandville.

District 2, Boys | Hudson Verwys - #2 ranked Rockford Rams

Let's get the big part of this out there, head coach Craig Peterman: "Hudson decided to return to play since his departure date for Military got pushed back due to COVID."

Good on Hudson - and the Rams who got 13 goals, 14 assists, 12 steals, TWELVE exclusions drawn (we had to read that one twice to be sure it was true) and three field blocks out of Hudson. Thats a big-time week for a player that saw #10 East Grand Rapids (twice), now #8 Birmingham Groves, #5 Grand Haven, #4 Pioneer, and #1 Hudsonville in ONE WEEK.

District 3, Girls | Katie Gillette - #7 ranked Birmingham Seaholm Maples

Look at those numbers. Now look at them and remember that she only played three games. That's five goals per game. That's a lot. Katie Gillette went OFF for Kellie Howe's Maples who surged forward two spots in the MWPA Rankings this week, into first place in District 3, and remained unbeaten. Gillette also had six steals, five assists and drew four exclusions for the Maples.

District 3, Boys | Max Zalewski - #8 ranked Birmingham Groves Falcons

Look at the extension in that photo. Now imagine the frustration the number 1, 3, 4 and 8th ranked teams felt this week when they had to deal with Birmingham Groves goaltender Max Zalewski. Though Bob Sala's Falcons are looking for a few more wins, Zalewski put everyone on notice with his masterful performance at Rockford this past weekend. He kept the Falcons alive, making a weekend-best 22 stops in the road performance at then #3 Rockford in a close 10-8 loss.

District 4, Girls | Emma Kaipainen - #5 ranked Ann Arbor Huron River Rats

Emma Kaipainen and the River Rats played twice this week. Look at the numbers again. Yep, that's insane. Six goals per game for Emma and the River Rats who sit fifth in the MWPA girls rankings. She was efficient (scored 12 times on 14 shots), had 11 steals, drew two exclusions and had four assists for Mary Chatigny's River Rats as they outscored opponents 31-0 in District Seed play this weekend.

District 4, Boys | Ben Deininger - #6 ranked Ann Arbor Skyline Eagles

Just three games played this week for Ben Deininger, but man did he fill up the box score! 17 goals for Ashley Hower's Eagles, to go with 12 steals, eight drawn exclusions, six assists and three field blocks as the Eagles went 3-0 this week. Deininger's efforts settled the Eagles in after a wicked strength of schedule to open the year, the Eagles are charting a strong course again.

About District Players of the Week: District Players of the Week are nominated by head coaches weekly through a form including statistical and circumstantial information. The District Players of the Week are chosen by an impartial group if there are multiple entrants within each District.

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