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  • Writer's pictureMWPA News Wire

MWPA Quarterfinal Preview Grand Haven Vs. Groves

These two teams have seen each other once and memories are nice and fresh as they've drawn each other in the State Quarterfinals as the Groves Gators and the Grand Haven Buccaneers face off at East Kentwood.

Meet the second seeded Buccaneers

Record: 12-6

Prior Match-Ups: Groves Leads Series 1-0 (April 30 @ East Grand Rapids, 5-2)

This Year: District 1 Runners Up, West Region Runners Up

Head Coach: Bill Hamm

Award Winners (Below)

Thomas MacDonald - All-Region First Team, All-Region Tournament MVP, All-OK Conference

Ethan Boos (G) - All-Region Tournament First Team

Michael MacDonald - All-Region Second Team, All-Region Tournament First Team, All-OK Conference

Garrett Barry - All-Region Tournament Second Team, All-OK Conference

Sam Timmer - All-Region Tournament HM

Playing in a district with the defending state champions, at times, the Buccaneers may have flown a bit under the radar, but then at Regionals, they picked up a huge win over the Rockford Rams giving them a top two seed at the State Tournament and the Buccaneers have had three weeks now to settle in to prepare for states.

"It just makes me so happy for the boys that have worked so hard to continue a tradition of determination and excellence that they have all worked hard to cultivate," Head Coach Bill Hamm said. "This opportunity to display their knowledge and growth is the culmination of one year's worth of work, and it's their opportunity to play in this odd year of upheaval is a fantastic ending and enduring memory for a weird and wonderful year."

As for the match-up, it was a hotly contested one back on April 30 in the only prior meeting.

"Groves gave us one heck of a game earlier this fall," Hamm said. "They play a tough and physical game. We are looking forward to a skillfully played game that shows the level of each athlete and polo competitor."

The Buccaneers have played 18 games, 11 of which have been against top ten teams, against whom, they have a winning record at 6-5.


Meet the third seeded Gators

Record: 13-8

Prior Match-Ups: Groves Leads Series 1-0 (April 30 @ East Grand Rapids, 5-2)

This Year: District 3 Champions

Head Coach: Steven Curry/Bob Sala

Award Winners (Below)

Ryan French - All-Region First Team, All-Region Tournament First Team

Rocco Prindle - All-Region Second Team, All-Region Tournament Second Team

Max Zalewski (G) - All-Region Second Team, All-Region Tournament Second Team

Erik Paluda - All-Region Tournament Second Team

Jack Darbonne - All-Region HM, All-Region Tournament HM

The Gators got off to a slow start in the W-L column but their strength of schedule was, to put it mildly, bananas. They continuously tested themselves early and 12 of their 21 games this season came against top ten teams.

Now they get a rematch with a team they've already seen once in a 5-2 win at East Grand Rapids.

Groves had five MWPA Award winners this season, and in their last 10 games (dating back to April 30) the Gators are piping hot at 9-1 with their only lost to the East Regional Champion Dexter Dreadnaughts (10-8) in the Regional Semi-Final.

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