MWPA Releases Week 1 Poll
After more than 70 games in the first week and a half of the season, the week one Top Ten rankings as voted upon by the Michigan Water Polo Association (MWPA) coaches are here below.
One team is ranked for the first time in program history...read below for more!
1 - Hudsonville Eagles (8-1) - #1 P.R.I. (.8223)
Still the top dog (or bird. Up to you!), the Eagles are 7-0 against Michigan opponents through the first stretch of the MWPA schedule. The Eagles dispatched a red-hot East Grand Rapids team twice, including a one goal game, #2 Rockford once in a two-goal game, and now-ranked Forest Hills as well. Ian Hewett's Eagles get a dangerous East Kentwood team this week in non-district action.
2 - Rockford Rams (7-2) - #3 P.R.I. (.6914)
State Runners-Up at Canham a year ago appear not to have missed much of a beat. Albeit a very competitive top five in the state, the Rams knocked off four ranked foes, but ran into buzz saws East Grand Rapids and Hudsonville. Katie Clarin's Rams are right in the thick of things with a good strength of schedule. They'll have to wait for a rematch with #1 Hudsonville for a few weeks, it comes on April 11.
3 - East Grand Rapids Pioneers (6-3-1) - #5 P.R.I. (.6495)
The Pioneers got off to a really nice start to the year, and played the #1 strength of schedule over their first eight in state games to boot. Their opponents are winning almost exactly 70% of their games. No other team has faced a schedule within 19 points that challenging. With it, the Pioneers took out #3 Jenison, lost by one to #1 Hudsonville in their first of two meetings. Raheem Brown's early schedule is so good, they haven't played a single non-ranked team yet! And they probably wont for a few more weeks at least.
4 - East Kentwood Falcons (7-3) - #4 P.R.I. (.6683)
Certainly looks like a pretty mean District 2 already - the third team in the top four out of the West side's second district and they aren't to be messed with. The Falcons ripped off seven straight wins to open the season, then played #2 Rockford in a one goal game, and current #3 East Grand Rapids in a tough match-up. Beware of Jarod Lane's Falcons lurking...they get #1 Hudsonville this week at home.
5 - Jenison Wildcats (8-1) - #2 P.R.I. (.7107)
The Wilcats are off to a good start after their third place finish at states last year. Their lone blemish was a tough season opening loss to a red-hot East Grand Rapids crew that opened the year ranked #7 but has since been more appropriately seeded. The Wildcats roared back with eight consecutive victories, as Spencer Sanders got his squad comfortable after what looked like a strange start. The J-Cats have a shot to redeem themselves tomorrow (Tuesday, March 28) at home against East Grand Rapids.
6 - Ann Arbor Skyline Eagles (4-1-1) - #6 P.R.I. (.6471)
"Soul-Crushing Defense." - Rebecca Godek, in a text describing strategy for the upcoming season. As someone who played against one of her teams, yeah, that tracks. I still have nightmares. The Eagles are off to the East Region's best start at 4-1-1 with a tie to #7 Ann Arbor Pioneer in the books. They've defeated three ranked teams, and played current #4 to a one-goal game. They have one of the state's best players, they'll be a factor come post-season play.
7 - Ann Arbor Pioneer Pioneers (3-2-1) - #8 P.R.I. (.5647)
Nothing says "WillHartSZN" quite like getting a score report where less than seven goals were scored in the game, right?! They're off to a solid start after a trip (across the street) to the State Tournament last season, with wins over Ann Arbor Huron, and a narrow loss to a good East Kentwood team. Yes, they've played two games out of their six where Under 6.5 has hit, and that's usually a good sign for the Pio's. Not so much for anyone that has to play them.
8 - Chelsea Bulldogs (4-2) - #7 P.R.I. (.6247)
From unranked to eighth the Bulldogs got off to one of the best starts in school history by testing themselves out a the East Grand Rapids EarlyBird. They became the first unranked team to beat a ranked team (#9 Zeeland) this season, and also picked up a few double-digit wins. They ran into good Rockford and Jenison squads, but they'll be better for it. Jess Hinderer has the Bulldogs on the march, looking for their first ever trip to the state tournament.
9 - Walled Lake Cobras (2-0) - (PRI not available)
Enter the COBRA! Great mascot, and a good start for the state's LAST unbeaten team. They knocked off Birmingham Seaholm on the road to open the year, then did it again at an improved Saline-Milan. Claire Bartosic has the Cobras (that's fun to say) in the poll for the first time ever. They get their first ranked test coming at Ann Arbor Skyline on April 6, and also make a couple more District four trips to Pioneer and Huron later on.
10 - Forest Hills (2-3) - #10 P.R.I. (.4826)
Clocking in at 10 is the team with the state's third hardest schedule (.643 opponent win percentage), through their five games is Forest Hills! In the poll for the first time under second year bench boss Sara Fredricks, FH has played all five against top ten teams. They opened with losses to Hudsonville and Jenison, but turned it around for big wins over then-ranked Zeeland and Grandville. In two match ups with 8-1 Jenison, Forest Hills decreased their margin a bit as they showed early improvement. Their district is a gauntlet, but they're off to an eye-opening start!
On the Line - Ann Arbor Huron (66), Grand Blanc & Saline-Milan (44)
Understanding the Poll: The poll, open to all MWPA Head Coaches, is ranked via a point-percentage scoring model. The points column is percentage of points scored by voters against the maximum total, which is based on number of voters. The period that would signify percentage has been dropped off the beginning of each number.
Unanimous first place ranking nets a score of 1,000 points.
Coaches vote weekly during the season. Polls will be updated Mondays during the season Inquiries on the poll can be directed to the chat feature on the MWPA website. Answering times may vary.