MWPA releases Week 5 Boys Top Ten
The Michigan Water Polo Association (MWPA) has announced the week five top ten boys rankings.
A full breakdown of each team is below.
#1 Hudsonville Eagles
The Eagles returned to action and to unanimous number one yet again this week. Firstly, huge props to Portage for hosting the District 1 Seed Tournament. Secondly, good one District 1 for helping the Eagles get as many games in as possible. The Eagles were a team RARING for action. They booked a 15-8 win over the troublesome #6 ranked Grand Haven Buccaneers for their first win in 18 days. The next day, Josh Ahrendt's Eagles showed no signs of rust. They poured in 56 goals in three games and allowed just five. The defending state champions are atop District 1 and have one more game this week (vs. West Ottawa) to try and go undefeated in the district in a five-game schedule in less than five days.
#2 Rockford Rams
Beware the fury of the Rams. The Rams were third a week ago, and came out FIRING, averaging a purely silly 18.5 goals per game over four games including a top ten win over East Grand Rapids. Craig Peterman's Rams lead the state with 15 wins (15-1 record) and a 7-1 mark against top ten teams. The Rams have just one loss on the campaign and it's to the team directly ahead of them. They seem destined to be on collision course with the Eagles as the season rolls towards the postseason, looking for a second and then maybe even third crack at the defending champs.
#3 Dexter Dreadnaughts
How good is this top three? You can answer that out loud. Go ahead. It's good. The defending runners up took out formerly ranked Birmingham Seaholm 16-6, then #4 Ann Arbor Pioneer for the second time in a week, and beat #8 Ann Arbor Skyline 7-4. The points are about as close as we've seen all year between teams being ranked next to eachother as it pertains to the Rockford Rams, but the Dreads are as good as they come and there have been few if any answers on the East side to Brian Semple's squad. Dexter is 12-1 and is tied for the best record vs. top ten teams with Rockford at 7-1.
#4 Ann Arbor Pioneer Pioneers
It's really hard to fault Don Packard's Pio's when their only sin is a loss to the team directly in front of them in fairly close fashion. The Pioneers are 1-2 vs. Dexter this season with the Dreads having won back-to-back meetings, but PHS picked up a 10-7 win over #8 Skyline and sprinted past Saline to stay steadily in fourth. The Pioneers are clearly a threat headed into the postseason, they've played competitive games with everyone ahead of them, and of their 16 games, 11 have been played against top 10 teams, with none lower than 8th.
#5 Birmingham Groves Gators
After several weeks of testing themselves outside the district, the Gators returned to District play and swept through. They took town Ann Arbor Huron 8-3 early in the week before averaging a scorching 20.6 goals per game over three games against district foes. Bob Sala's Gators head into the District tournament riding a wave of momentum, having won nine of their last ten games after a slow start (albeit against very strong competition) to the campaign. Watch out for the Gators in the East Region, who have already punched their ticket to regionals with a first round District bye.
#6 Grand Haven Buccaneers
Typically the deeper into the top ten you go, the question becomes, "Can this team compete with the top part of the top ten?" In this case, we'll answer that with a big yes. The Buccaneers have proved they can play competitive polo with most if not all of them. They've taken the current #2 to overtime this season for example. They're tied for the most goals scored against current #1 Hudsonville this season (8 - Rockford). They routinely have been able to take care of most teams behind them in the polls, and when they do lose, it's typically not by wide margins. Bill Hamm's Buccaneers are also a big threat out of District 1.
#7 East Grand Rapids Pioneers
It's a team that just will not go away. While they are still looking for their first win over the team directly in front of them this season, the scores have tightened in subsequent games since their first meeting. Raheem Brown's Pio's are battle tested, they have strong goaltending, they have good team quickness and speed, and have beaten a number of top ten tens including current #10 Okemos and current #5 Birmingham Groves, and are sitting in the sweet spot between those rankings at 7 overall again.
#8 Ann Arbor Skyline Eagles
Not sure what the secret at Skyline is but apparently it leads to good coaching. Ashley Harren's Eagles are closing the gap on teams in front of them. They hung around and lost 7-4 to #2 Dexter, same earlier in the week with #4 Ann Arbor Pioneer whom they lost to 10-7 and 8-4. You might look and see the three losses, but the trend is clearly positive for the Eagles as they scratch and claw their way towards the postseason making them anything but an easy out.
#9 Grand Blanc Bobcats
The Bobcats hold steady at #9 after cruising past Lake Orion (who pestered #10 Okemos into a shootout this past weekend) and Walled Lake in District action. Dan Command's Bobcats are the second seed in District 3, on the opposite end of the bracket from the piping hot #5 Groves Gators. The path to the District Championship game will require a win over previously ranked Birmingham Seaholm or Troy, and their success there is key if they want shot to return to the State Tournament.
#10 Okemos Chiefs
The Chiefs are headed for the postseason as the third seed in the deep district 2 affter falling in a tight 7-4 contest to #7 East Grand Rapids (who claimed the bye and second seed). Greg Kohler's Chiefs did get wins over a team receiving votes (Hotel) in District action, and had to drive from Mason to Lake Orion after playing essentially two top 12 teams to play Lake Orion. The Dragons tried to take advantage of the situation but the Chiefs ran off with a 14-12 shootout victory (their second SOW of the year). They draw Josh Jackson's scrappy East Kentwood Falcons in the District Quarterfinal. Their path to a District Championship game would run through EK and nemesis #7 East Grand Rapids to have a shot at finishing top two in the District.
On the Line: Ann Arbor Huron, Birmingham Seaholm, Holt/East Lansing
What is "On The Line?": The first three teams outside the MWPA Poll in terms of percentage points - listed for context.
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 Monday's during the mid day. Inquiries on the poll can be directed to the chat feature on the MWPA website. Answering times may vary.