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  • Writer's pictureMWPA News Wire

MWPA Quarterfinal Preview of Ann Arbor Skyline vs. Grandville

This one versus four match-up at the state tournament could prove to be one of the most compelling first round games in recent memory when the Ann Arbor Skyline Eagles and Grandville Bulldogs tango at Hudsonville on Friday afternoon.

Meet the first seeded Eagles

Record: 13-12

Prior Match-Ups: Grandville Leads series 2-0 (April 17 @ Grandville, 10-4. April 23 @ Skyline, 9-5)

This Year: District 4 Runners-Up, East Regional Champions

Head Coach: Rebecca Godek (East Coach of the Year)

Award Winners (Below)

Ella Enrique Shakespeare - All-Region First Team, All-Region Tournament First Team

Aly Guevara - All-Region Second Team, All-Region Tournament Second Team

Alia Tracy (G) - All-Region Second Team, All-Region Tournament First Team

Olivia Andrew-Vaughan - All-Region Tournament Second Team

Allie Deininger - All-Region HM, All-Region Tournament HM

Lauren Sloan - All-Region Tournament HM

The Ann Arbor Skyline Eagles are doing what they always have under head coach Rebecca Godek: Peak at the right time. They shook off earlier season large-deficit losses to rival Ann Arbor Huron and shocked them with a 5-4 win at the East Regional Championship to earn the #1 seed out of the East.

"We're really excited to be at the state tournament," Head coach Rebecca Godek said. "Having over a full year off with no water polo, we got off to a slow start and had to re-learn many things that would have been very natural for us in the past. We have a young team experience wise, and I've really enjoyed watching them come together and succeed as a group. Each week we seemed to improve and making the state tournament is the ultimate reward for us."

The match-up is one Godek and company are familiar with, having seen the Bulldogs twice in the span of a week back in April.

"Grandville has had an awesome season so far, and really challenged the top three teams in the state in recent weeks," Godek said. "They seem to be progressing every game so this will be an extremely tough matchup for us."

The Eagles have played 16 games against top 10 teams, most of anyone in the East Region and second most in the state (by one) and are beyond battle tested for what lies ahead. While the Eagles are 4-12, three of those wins have come in their last five attempts, as they've heated up of late.


Meet the fourth seeded Bulldogs

Record: 23-8

Prior Match-Ups: Grandville Leads series 2-0 (April 17 @ Grandville, 10-4. April 23 @ Skyline, 9-5)

This Year: District 1 Runners Up

Head Coach: Mitch Fountain

Award Winners (Below)

Leah Green (G) - All-Region First Team, All-Region Tournament First Team, All OK-Conference

Isabel Castro - All-Region First Team, All OK-Conference, All-Region Tournament HM

Alyssa Light - All-OK Conference

Isabelle Bargenquast - All-Region Tournament Second Team, All-OK Conference HM

Lauren Potyraj - All-Region Tournament Second Team

Maddie Light - All-Region Tournament HM, All-OK Conference HM

Sarah Kelly - All-Region Tournament HM

The Grandville Bulldogs have just flat out played more games than everyone. They're a young roster with more first-time varsity players than not, but it didn't stop them from punching their ticket to states. They then fell in a pair of close games with top four ranked teams at Regionals, and despite the youth, they haven't lost a game to anyone ranked lower than fourth this season.

"This is such a special opportunity for this group. For a program historically that you can count on one hand the number of State Tournament appearances it's had, they have really bought into embracing the culture of challenging themselves," Head coach Mitch Fountain said. "Ultimately, when you combine a competitive nature with adversity, that's what breeds success."

As for the upcoming game, while the Bulldogs have won both prior meetings this season, neither are the same team from the previous meetings.

"It's hard NOT to find things to like about AA Skyline. To me, it begins with their coach, Rebecca Godek, who is inarguably one of the brightest minds in our sport," Fountain said. "The established culture and consistency of that program are most certainly ways I look to model my own program. They are always fundamentally sound, have a high "water polo IQ" and peak during the postseason."

The Grandville Bulldogs are one of two teams in the state (Rockford) that have played more top-ten games than the Eagles at 17. The Bulldogs are 10-7 in those games.

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