MWPA Quarterfinal Preview | Hudsonville vs. Groves
Bidding for their fourth consecutive state title, the Hudsonville Eagles have drawn one of the second half of the season's strongest teams in the Birmingham Groves Gators to open the 2022 State tournament at Jenison High School.
Meet the West Region Champion Hudsonville Eagles
Prior Match Ups: Hudsonville leads 1-0 (October 14, 13-1 win)
This Year: West Region & District 1 Champions
Head Coach: Josh Ahrendt
Tyler Chalmers - West Region MVP
Casey Fields - West Region First Team
Aiden McDowell - West Region Second Team
Not the unbeaten team we saw last year, but still an absolute load of a crew, Josh Ahrendt's Hudsonville Eagles are three games from a shot at extending their state championship run to four straight. It would be their second title in less than six months, coming off of graduating strong group that won the 2022 Spring Title and having no winter season to develop this year's group.
It's all been impressive again. They're 39-2, only with losses to out of state opponents (33-0 vs. Michigan Teams) although they've played more close games this year than years past. While it may still be a wide open tournament this year, until Friday night, everyone still is looking up at the Eagles.
Meet the East Region's Fourth Seeded Groves Gators
Prior Match Ups: Hudsonville leads 1-0 (October 14, 13-1 loss)
This Year: District 3 Champions
Head Coach: George Googasian
Joey Stebbins - West Region First Team
Chase Richardson - West Region Second Team
The Gators had to contend with missing several weeks of games early in the season, and have played the least amount of games of any state tournament team. They had to hit the reset button and essentially start the season nearly a month behind the eight ball by the time they returned.
Which makes this all that much more impressive. George Googasian kept his crew together, and with 13 of his team's 26 games coming against top ten opponents, got the Gators rolling and peaking at the right time, all the way to a regular season AND District Tournament Title over cross-town rival Birmingham Seaholm, who had been white hot before the Gators got it rolling. Groves deserves credit for getting to this point, and playing with house money, the physical Gators are looking to unseat the Eagles and show they're not just a fun second half story.