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MWPA Quarterfinal Preview of Dexter vs. Zeeland


The opening quarterfinal at the East Kentwood site pits the defending runners-up in the Dexter Dreadnaughts against the West Region's fourth seed in Zeeland Polo as the two will meet for the first time this season.


Meet the first seeded Dreadnaughts

Record: 16-2

Prior Match-Ups: No Prior Meetings

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

Head Coach: Brian Semple

Award Winners (Below)

Sam Sterlitz - All-Region First Team, All-Region Tournament MVP

Tony Golin (G) - All-Region First Team, All-Region Tournament First Team

Ben Duncan - All-Region Second Team, All-Region Tournament First Team

Leo Varitek - All-Region Second Team, All-Region Tournament First Team


The Dreadnaughts are chasing what they narrowly missed out on a season ago, their first ever State Championship. As the top seed out of the East Region, their Regional Championship contest required several additional overtime periods before a dramatic finish when All-Region first team keeper Tony Golin scored the winner on crosstown rival Ann Arbor Pioneer.


"In such a strange year, the boys were simply happy to have a chance to compete and play a game that they love," Head coach Brian Semple said. "Competing in the State Championship [tournament] is the icing on the cake. The boys are excited to have the opportunity to battle it out with the best teams in the state, and for our seniors to leave it all in the pool to end their season."


This is a match-up with no prior meetings this season, but two experienced coaches that know their opposing program well.


"Zeeland has always had a strong program," Semple said. "Their players and team have grown and improved all season. They have found a way to play solid team polo, and we will have to work really hard to anticipate their moves and plays, and adjust to any wrinkles that they may present."


The Dreads are well-tested and 9-2 against top ten teams in 11 match-ups. Their only losses this season are to Ann Arbor Pioneer who has been ranked inside the top four all season. Dexter has only played one non-region game this year (May 10 vs. Holt/EL).

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Meet the fourth seeded Zeeland

Record: 5-10

Prior Match-Ups: No Prior Meetings

Head Coach: Zac Geschwendt

Award Winners (Below)

Aidan VanSoest - All-Region Second Team, All-Region Tournament First Team

Nate Brinks - All-Region Tournament HM

Nate VanDyken - All-Region Tournament HM


Zeeland polo gets a big quarterfinal test in the defending runners-up, but provided a stiff test themselves earlier this postseason when they kept eventual West Region runner-up Grand Haven within two goals at the District Tournament - consider they didn't get to play their first game until April 28, and you can see how they dealt with adversity.


"Making the state tournament is an opportunity for our team to show how much hard work they put in this season," Geschwendt said. "After getting shut down after spring break, we were forced to play catchup for the next two weeks. Every practice day became a two-a-day, every opportunity to play became an invaluable learning experience. We played the entirety of our regular season, a total of nine games, in just ten days."


Given the scramble of playing the regular season in such a short frame, Geschwendt admits that other than game film from this season, their last meeting was so long ago that this is likely to be a different type of game.


"They have the coolest mascot," Geschwendt said. "And they are very good at avoiding us! I can only remember once in the last two years that we played and I can hardly remember that game from September 2019."


Like he said, Zeeland stuffed nine games into ten days to run through their regular season. They are 1-8 vs. top ten teams, with their win coming in the Regional Quarterfinal on the road.


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