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MWPA Girls Quarterfinal Preview | Hudsonville vs. Pioneer

11 combined state titles, the most of any two quarterfinal match-up, are held between Hudsonville and Pioneer. One team is on a run of four-straight. The other is the last team to beat the four-time defending state champions in a State Title game (2016). Since the turn of the century, Pioneer and Hudsonville have been two of the state's great powers with a combined 18 all-time state championship game appearances.

Meet the West Region Champion Eagles

Record: 27-4-2

Prior Match-Ups: This is their first meeting this season

This Year: West Regional & District 1 Champions

Head Coach: Ian Hewett

Award Winners

Taylor Wilson - West Region MVP, West Regional Tournament MVP

Elsie Roberts (G) - West Region First Team, West Regional Tournament First Team

Aly Widner - West Region Tournament First Team, West Region Second Team

Jenna Kuiper - West Region Tournament Second Team

The Four-Time defending state champions are at a crossroads. A casual observer might look at the roster and say it's a much younger team than a year ago, and with a first year starting goalkeeper. For Ian Hewett's squad, it really hasn't seemed to matter. Though there are a few more losses in that column than we may be used to, the Eagles have turned it on at the right time and still have high-end talent. Three of those four losses and one of the two ties came to out-of-state opponents. Take away their one out-of-state win and they're 26-1 which is certainly, nothing to sneeze at. For the years Ian was coach of the year earlier in his tenure, this may be his finest job yet.

For him and the Eagles, Aly Widner has quickly emerged as one of the better centers in the state. She'll return next year, as will West Region MVP Taylor Wilson and netminder Elsie Roberts. Roberts, the aforementioned first year starting goalie, was first team all region and all tournament. Not a bad opening act at all considering a deep pool of goaltenders on the West side of the state. Jenna Kuiper brings some carryover experience from the previous regime of starters. Last year, their run to the title was considered by the top ten rankings to be an "Upset." But they won't catch anyone by surprise this year. They've been #1 in nearly every poll and well deserving of it.


Meet the East Region's Fourth Seeded Pioneers

Record: 10-9-1

Prior Match-Ups: This is their first meeting this season

Head Coach: Will Hart

Award Winners

Kate Lindstrom - East Region Tournament First Team, East Region Second Team

Maddie Baybeck (G) - East Region Honorable Mention, East Region Tournament Honorable Mention

Amelia Weyhing - East Region Tournament Honorable Mention

A postseason game with Pioneer can be a literal Hart Attack (you knew I had to get one of those bad boys in there). A master of making coaches go bald in front of our eyes on deck, Will Hart and his Pioneers return to the state tournament where he's coached some of the greatest games in MWPA History. The Pioneers dominated their way through the regional quarterfinal to punch their ticket, and while it's been a longer build back to the Pioneer we know and remember, it always seems to be a team no one ever wants to see across from them come June.

Better yet for Pioneer, it's a squad with some talent set to return next year. Maddie Baybeck has been the backbone of the Pioneer defense in goal as a junior, while Kate Lindstrom drives the wagon on offense. Both are juniors on a team featuring just four seniors including Amelia Weyhing. The task is tall, but the five time state champions have a proud history. Don't expect them to go down without a fight. This is a valuable moment for a Pioneer squad with the potential of a very bright near future.

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