MWPA Week 2 Boys Rankings
The Michigan Water Polo Association has announced their Week 2 Boys Rankings - no poll was conducted last week due to low number of games.
Below is a breakdown of the week that was for each team.
#1 Hudsonville Eagles
The unanimous number one Eagles opened their season with a bit of a bang - they had two shutouts in their first five games (over the course of three days), topped #5 Rockford by six, and #3 Grand Haven by nine. They also took out Jenison 12-3 (now ranked Jenison, mind you). Josh Ahrendt's Eagles appear to be ready to roll out and try and defend their crown again. While the resistance at the end of the road may be higher than in years past, Hudsonville appears to have everything it needs to repeat.
#2 Ann Arbor Pioneer Pioneers
Alright IDK if anyone has brought this up before, but how BALLER of a move is it that Pioneer doubles down on their school name being their mascot? The Pioneer Pioneers? That's some swagger if I've ever seen it. Speaking of swagger (looking at you, Don Packard), they sit second state wide in the polls and went 2-2....in Illinois. They took on a daunting schedule, got a Sudden Death OT victory on a Gabe Sanchez-Burks goal, and also had a 10-9 win over St. Ignatius. They lost a one-goal game to New Trier and a relatively close one to Lyons Township. One could say they "Pioneered" West this weekend (the puns will never stop).
#3 Rockford Rams
This Ram-bunctious (*chuckles to self*) group had a strong weekend - defeating #3 Grand Haven, #7 Birmingham Groves and #8 Zeeland before falling to #1 Hudsonville. A 3-1 week vs. Top Ten Teams is absolutely nothing to sneeze at for Craig Peterman's Rams. After starting fifth in the polls and playing in the Chicago area last week, their home tournament went well. They get another top ten foe this week in Zeeland as they prepare for Spring Break. Out of spring break, look at this schedule: (current rank) #1 Hudsonville, #4 Grand Haven, #7 Jenison. Buckle up for that stretch!
#4 Grand Haven Buccaneers
You know what we like about Grand Haven? Their social media. They do fun graphics. Nothing fancy, just fun. Worth the instagram follow for sure. They also had a weekend that was by no means poor - they beat Birmingham Seaholm (receiving votes last week), before falling to #1 Hudsonville and now #3 Rockford. Strength of schedule was very good for Grand Haven who gets plenty more of that going forward - Bill Hamm's squad should be plenty battle tested after opening week.
#5 Ann Arbor Skyline Eagles
The Eagles flew (HA! Flew) past Birmingham Seaholm to open their season....and then went on Spring Break. Small sample size for the Eagles - but Ashley Hower's squad brought back a ton of experience - also every time they post on instagram we see what offensive players would consider nightmare inducing footage of their already very good young goaltender getting better. So they have that going for them. They open the out-of-spring-break portion of the schedule by hosting Grand Blanc, Huron and #10 Okemos on back-to-back-to-back days.
#6 Jenison Wildcats
Welcome back Coach Sweedyk! A very nice opening week for the J-Cats who join the girls team in a surge up the polls. From not receiving votes to seventh - they fell early to Hudsonville but rebounded for a nice win over Ann Arbor Huron. They followed it up with a win over #7 Birmingham Groves. The Wildcats scored nine or more goals in each of their three games, all three teams they played were either in the polls or receiving votes, and they certainly proved their quick improvement over the last offseason. The Cats return to action after Spring Break with a date at East Kentwood on April 13 after a long lay off.
#7 Birmingham Groves Gators
Speaking of teams that like to get after it on social media, the Gators drove West this week for some firm competition, Their win over #8 Zeeland by six was convincing - they fell to now #3 Rockford by the same margin, and took a 10-7 loss to an upstart Jenison team who wasn't receiving votes last week - but definitely appears to be much improved. Steve Curry and Bob Sala had a strong opening two weeks after we talked a lot about what the team lost, they don't appear to be feeling the effects of it too much...they're good.
#8 East Grand Rapids Pioneers
Raheem Brown's Pioneers had a one-game week - they topped then #8 Zeeland 12-7 in their own pool. The sample size is small but hey, they're 2-0. We'll likely learn a little more about them soon - their next three games - @ Hudsonville, vs. Grand Haven, @ Jenison. With the reigning boys West Coach of the Year, the Pioneers have as good a shot as any in the West at snagging one of those four spots to States. Not to be discounted - the Pioneers score a lot - 26 times in two games. Yes, again, small sample size, but having an average of 13 a game is a good habit.
#9 Zeeland Polo
Zeeland lost once to a team behind them in the rankings - then #8 East Grand Rapids, and thus took a one-spot fall into ninth. They lost to #7 Birmingham Groves, then turned around for a very nice win over Ann Arbor Huron and then Birmingham Seaholm. Zac Geschwendt's young group has played in a lot of high scoring games - one team has scored at least 12 times in every game they've played - and has shown the ability to score goals as well. They've netted 34 in their last three games and been held below seven just once.
#10 Okemos Wolves
Okay first things first, the Okemos rebrand is FIRE. Love it. Big fans. Unfortunately, we cannot tell if the team is also, in fact fire, because they have yet to debut. So here they sit in 10th still. What we do know is that the Wolves do bring back some key pieces, but lost just as many in the offseason. Greg Kohler had a dynamic squad who had the ability to play in a lot of games against good teams last year, but now it'll be about a fast maturation process for the new group who gets #5 Ann Arbor Skyline and (RV) Dexter out of spring break.
On the Line: Dexter (91), East Kentwood (40), Birmingham Seaholm (11)
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.