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  • Writer's pictureMWPA News Wire

MWPA Quarterfinal Preview of Hudsonville vs. Skyline

The MWPA Quarterfinals at the State Championship Game site (Hudsonville) will open with a match-up between the defending state champion Hudsonville Eagles and the fourth seed out of the East Region in the Ann Arbor Skyline Eagles.

Meet the first seeded Eagles

Record: 14-0

Prior Match-Ups: No Prior Meetings

This Year: District 1, West Regional and OK Conference Champions

Head Coach: Josh Ahrendt

Award Winners (Below)

Colin McDowell - All-OK Conference, All-Region First Team, All-Region Tournament First Team

Gabe Ecenbarger - All-OK Conference, All-Region First Team, All-Region Tournament First Team

Nate Chalmers - All-OK Conference, All-Region Second Team, All-Region Tournament Second Team

Eli Boonstra (G) - All-OK Conference, All-Region Second Team, , All-Region Tournament Second Team

Micah Bayle - All-OK Conference HM, All-Region HM, , All-Region Tournament Second Team

Unbeaten again, the Eagles are making a bid for their second consecutive state title. Despite a smaller sample size of games than they'd like, the Eagles have handled all of their tests with composure. The obstacles for Josh Ahrendt's crew, in getting here, were not few.

"It’s been a tough season. It means a lot that we can still compete for a state championship," Ahrendt said. "I’m happy for the kids. They have been through much over the last year and a half and I’m sure this is a happy time for them."

These teams have not yet played, but both of these strong programs have won a state title since 2015.

"Skyline has a top program," Ahrendt said. "I’m sure they will pose us challenges on Friday and I’m looking forward to it."

The Eagles last game, nearly three weeks ago, was an exhibition of the height of their skull as they topped the Grand Haven Buccaneers 12-1 to win the West Region Championship Game. Hudsonville is 5-0 against top 10 opponents and have seen five teams that will play in the tournament this season. One team (Birmingham Groves) was not yet ranked when the two met earlier this season.


Meet the fourth seeded Eagles

Record: 11-10

Prior Match-Ups: No Prior Meetings

Head Coach: Ashley Hower

Award Winners (Below)

Ben Deininger - All-Region First Team, All-Region Tournament First Team

Ben Edlund - All-Region Second Team, All-Region Tournament HM

Evan McKelvey - All-Region HM, All-Region Tournament HM

Ian Root - All-Region Tournament HM

Ashley Hower's Eagles are if nothing else, battle tested. In the brutally strong District 4, the Eagles emerged from the East Region Tournament to make the State Tournament in a tight win over Grand Blanc. 11 of their 21 games have been played against teams in the top ten this season.

"To say that we are excited to be here is an understatement,' Hower said. "District 4 has been really competitive in recent years, and we are excited to be representing our District alongside strong teams like Pioneer and Dexter. We’re extremely proud of our team for earning the additional 3 weeks of season, and we’re ready to bring our best and compete with the best in Michigan this weekend."

Now, their largest test to date, trying to go into another Eagle's nest and unseat the defending champions.

"Hudsonville is a well established program competing for top placements at the State Tournament year after year," Hower said. "It’s not just a talented group of kids, their whole system and culture cultivates a successful program. It’s always a tough match up for any team in the pool with them, but they deserve a ton of respect for what they have been able to repeatedly produce from their teams."

Skyline is 9-1 against unranked teams this year, but does have two top ten wins. All of their losses to top ten teams are to teams ranked within the top six this season.

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