MWPA Week 1 Girls Rankings
The Michigan Water Polo Association has released their Girls Week 1 top ten rankings, with movement up and down the polls.
Below is a breakdown of the week that was for each team.
#1 Hudsonville Eagles (3-0-1, all vs. Top Ten Teams)
The Eagles got off to an unbeaten 3-0-1 start and learned a lot about themselves, winning three one-goal games and tying with formerly seventh ranked EGR short one of their top players (ODP Polo Last Weekend). One of the things they learned? Their goalkeeper is pretty good. Elsie Roberts knocked aside a truly stingy 82.2 percent of the shots she faced as the four-time defending state champions unseated the 3rd, 4th, and 7th ranked teams and tied the 5th out of the preseason polls. Ian Hewett's squad will only get better as a few more Eagles return to the nest. They may need it too - a match up with rival and State #2 Grandville awaits them Friday night at the Grand Haven tournament. The Eagles also get to see #7 East Grand Rapids again this week as well as #6 Jenison at the end of the week.
T-#2 Grandville Bulldogs (3-0-0 all vs. Top Ten Teams)
Grandville marched through their home tournament with relative ease, outscoring opponents 43-4 over three games including two shutouts. Senior and returning All-American goaltender Leah Green had a strong weekend not just on the two shutouts, but she also ripped a full-pool goal (shooting from deep to shallow) against #10 Jenison. Mitch Fountain's Bulldogs were expected to get out to a strong start with a deep group of returners, but they face a nightmarish gauntlet this week - rival #4 Rockford, upstart #8 East Kentwood, the aforementioned #1 Hudsonville Eagles, crosstown rival #6 Jenison, with opportunities to see #7 East Grand Rapids and potentially, #1 Hudsonville TWICE on the weekend at Grand Haven. That's some kind of a test.
T-#2 Ann Arbor Huron River Rats (2-1 all vs. Top Ten Teams)
Could it be the Year of the Rat? It certainly looked like it. The River Rats avenged their 2021 State Quarterfinal loss to then #3 Rockford with a 15-3 spot on the shorthanded Rams last weekend. It helps to have some superstar power (see Emma Kaipainen), certainly, but there was a lot more to their story this past week. Goalkeeper Lydia Hargett was the headliner for Mary Chatigny's River Rats in what was a loud week for the red-cappers, she had 13 saves against Rockford, 11 on East Grand Rapids including a 5-meter stop, and eight against Hudsonville in the one-goal loss. The Rat Pack is Back. Don't worry, we plan lots of Rat Rhymes this year. Buckle Up.
#4 Rockford Rams (2-2, 1-2 vs. Top Ten Teams)
.500 polo after that kind of weekend is nothing to sneeze at, give Katie Clarin's Rams a whole lot of credit for bouncing back after a tough loss to then #4 Ann Arbor Huron. They dispatched Portage to open their season on a long road trip in the MWPA's first official game of the year (fun fact, save that for your trivia nights!) before the loss to Huron. They woke up the next morning and promptly beat then #5 East Grand Rapids with a 6-2 victory. Give them even more credit, they turned around and gave #1 Hudsonville a one-goal game. Rockford gets an opportunity to pad their strength of schedule by taking on #2 Grandville this week before going on the road to see a Grand Haven team that was a tough postseason out last year.
#5 ELODH (1-2, All vs. Teams Now Ranked in Top Ten)
The artists formerly known as Holtelkemos, Hotel, Holt/EL, don't worry about their name, worry about their GAME. They opened the weekend without their head coach and a few key players (ODP Polo last weekend) and knocked off then #5 East Grand Rapids by a goal, then turned around and played a one goal game with #1 Hudsonville. The weekend ended on a bit of a funky note for Madi Zink's ELODH Co-Op, they lost to East Kentwood (now ranked #8) by one, but East Kentwood got off on an absolute ROLL and proved they deserved to be ranked to open the season. They host Lake Orion in a quieter week as Spring Break awaits on the other side, and as their roster fills back out, they have plenty of time to make plenty of noise.
#6 Jenison Wildcats (2-1, All vs. Top Ten Teams)
Jenison opened the year ranked in the 10 spot, but quickly climbed the polls, knocking out both #6 Ann Arbor Skyline and #8 Saline/Milan by a combined 22-5 at the Grandville tournament this weekend. The lone loss came when they ran into a hot #2 Grandville in an 11-4 loss to the Bulldogs in their pool. Still, Spencer Sanders squad gave voters something to think about - the Jenison Wildcats have a really good opportunity to make more noise the coming week as they get a rematch with #2 Grandville in an all-deep pool and a shot at #1 Hudsonville. One thing confirmed, Cats can in fact swim (Crazy, right?!).
#7 East Grand Rapids Pioneers (0-3-1, All vs. Top Ten Teams)
How about a 7-7 tie with the four-time defending state champion and current #1 Hudsonville Eagles. It would be disingenuous to look at the Pioneers record on the Early Bird tournament - it's well-documented what the Pioneers graduated - and judge them on that alone. The Pios comported themselves well against a strong (then) #7 ELODH in a one-goal loss. They followed with a 6-2 loss to then #3 Rockford and managed to mostly hold down the prolific offense of then #4 Ann Arbor Huron (6-1 loss). The Pio's will be heavily tested this week - they get #1 Hudsonville and shots to see other highly ranked teams this week as well.
#8 East Kentwood Falcons (4-0, 1-0 vs. Top Ten Teams)
Well hello there East Kentwood! Welcome to the top....not just ten....EIGHT. A Fan-Falcon-Tastic weekend, if you will, from "receiving votes," to the eight spot after a 4-0 weekend and a staggering 51-15 score differential. That from a guy who loves defense (Looking at you, Jarod Lane) and good goaltending, the Falcons buzz-sawed their way through three of their four games and earned their spot here with a 7-6 win over then #7 ELODH. It's a balanced group, much of which played a lot of important offseason polo. Watch out for the Falcons who are making District 2 an affair that every team will have to sweat out that much more for their depth this season.
#9 Ann Arbor Pioneer Pioneers (3-0, 1-0 vs. Top Ten Teams)
Death, Taxes, Will Hart. The trio of the inevitable is back together as Hart's Pioneer's ran a 3-0 gambit on their Early Bird tournament, unseating #9 Birmingham Seaholm 13-6 and beating a Grand Blanc team that is an inch outside the current top ten and caused all kinds of problems this week. They held their last two opponents to two goals each, which sounds very familiar to anyone that has ever played a Pioneer team in the postseason in the last two decades. Keep an eye on them, they get to see #10 Ann Arbor Skyline this week and return from the Holiday break to see cross town rival Ann Arbor Huron twice in two weeks.
#10 Ann Arbor Skyline Eagles (1-2, All vs. Top Ten Teams)
The Eagles absolutely tested their young squad this past weekend - short a budding star in Allie Deininger (ODP Polo Last Weekend), the Eagles went 1-2 and got a little better each game. Sound familiar? The Godek-Effect everybody. Look it up. It's in the dictionary we swear. They took out #8 Saline-Milan 9-2 after a tough start against a strong #2 Grandville and a then #10 Jenison team that had a very solid opening weekend. Not to worry, what do they follow it up with? A trip to current #2 Ann Arbor Huron and a date with #9 Ann Arbor Pioneer. Will it be easy? No. But this is a team with a bench boss that knows how to make her teams peak when it matters most.
On the Line: Grand Blanc (187), Saline-Milan (20), Birmingham Groves (13)
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. Polls will be updated Monday's at 11 am (Girls) and noon (Boys) ET. Inquiries on the poll can be directed to the chat feature on the MWPA website. Answering times may vary.
What is On the Line?: On the Line is the first three teams outside of the MWPA Poll. Coaches vote weekly during the season.