The Michigan Water Polo Association has announced their Week 3 Boys Rankings after a wild weekend on the East Side.
Below is a breakdown of the week that was for each team.
#1 Hudsonville Eagles
The only thing that's a surprise here is that for just the third time since poll points have been tracked (start of 2021) Hudsonville's boys team is NOT the unanimous number one. Those two times? Week 4 last season (after being shut down for a bit) and the preseason poll, where in both, they won 98.6 percent of the maximum poll points. Forgive them, they still have 99.3 percent of the maximum amount of points, and none of it had to do with them (they were idle). The East Side's massive shake up drew a lot of eyeballs last weekend. As we know, Josh Ahrendt's Eagles are very good at water polo (Look at that analysis. Majestic. You can't pay for analysis that good!). We're pretty sure this whole "993" business will be up on their white board.
#2 Ann Arbor Skyline Eagles
To quote Tom Haverford...."DAAAAANG!" That's what we said when we looked at their results. Side note, are Parks & Rec references too old for this reading crowd? We hope not. Anyways. Eagles (see above) are apparently VERY good at Water Polo, as evidenced by Skyline's MONSTER 6-0 week, including wins over #10 Okemos and poll upsets over #2 Ann Arbor Pioneer and #4 Grand Haven. Ashley Hower had it cooking - they also defeated Ann Arbor Huron (receiving votes) twice, and scored three double-digit dubs. Plenty of things to be excited about on the East side - an absolutely loaded District 4 is making things very interesting early on.
#3 Ann Arbor Pioneer Pioneers
Pioneer's only real reason for dropping a spot was that aforementioned narrow loss to now #2 Ann Arbor Skyline. All-in-all, their week was very nice. They scored a pair of wins over cross-town rival Ann Arbor Huron, and then topped then #4 Grand Haven in the weekend tournament. They're not empty calories either - Pioneer played four out of state games against high quality competition (2-2) is 7-1 against in-state foes and 4-1 against ranked opponents and most of their schedule has been played against teams that have at least received votes in the poll. Don Packard's squad may have been dealt an early season blow by a district rival, but they dealt with the same last year, see-sawing with Dexter - they're seasoned at this.
#4 Rockford Rams
It was a really solid start to the 2022 season for Craig PETERMAN'S (I spelled it wrong last week, are you happy Craig? Sheesh!) Rams. They opened with four top ten wins headed into Spring Break, their only loss amongst in-state opponents came to #1 Hudsonville early on in a 9-3 effort. That said, they also went out of state, like Pioneer, and saw some stiff competition. It'll be plenty interesting to see what they have coming back from Break. Mostly because they return from it....against #1 Hudsonville.
#5 Birmingham Groves Gators
Again, they're battle-tested. There is something to be said for how they continue to schedule strong early competition (see last year) and continue to play well early. They lost a MONSTROUS amount of production to graduation and seem to have barely missed a beat. They picked up a nice win over an Ann Arbor Huron team that is receiving votes and playing tough. They then snagged a nice win over now ranked ELHL in narrower fashion, but Steve Curry and Bob Sala's Gators came back from break with a 2-0 week and got to move up for it.
#6 Jenison Wildcats
Jason Sweedyk's Cat-Pack CLAWED (ha...cat puns) their way to some nice early wins, and (cat) NIPPED (that was bad) a ranked team before Spring Break in Birmingham Groves. Previously unranked, their efforts are LITTERED (we can't stop the puns) with impressive showings against very good teams. They will be tested FUR sure (sorry that was a cheap one), against East Kentwood in their return to action this week. We couldn't think of any puns relating to Whiskers, so that's the end of that.
#7 Grand Haven Buccaneers
The Swashbucklers from the Shore ventured East in search of the treasure of top ten wins, but found District Four's Cannons surrounding them. The Buccaneers, who got off to a solid start, did graduate a lot. And the competition in Ann Arbor was never going to be easy. Pioneer and Skyline both have been red-hot, Huron shrunk a lot of margins in losses, and Grand Haven comes out having learned a lot more about the team they have now. Every polo team ever in Grand Haven's situation, learning about a new, younger core, goes through adjustment periods. Bill Hamm's group did that this past weekend. Now we'll see their response Wednesday at #8 East Grand Rapids.
#8 East Grand Rapids Pioneers
We know very little about the Pio's as a group - they took the pool three times before the break and went 2-1. Raheem Brown's group opened 2-0 with wins over East Kentwood and then #8 ranked Zeeland. They ran into #1 Hudsonville and had a tough night, but the reigning Boys West Coach of the Year has a big opportunity - #7 Grand Haven, at home, Wednesday night. Both teams are, maybe not yet in need of a win, but certainly itching to prove themselves. The Mystery Men will educate us on who they are this week.
#9 Zeeland Polo
It definitely wasn't a poor stretch to open the year for Zeeland - they fell to a tough East Grand Rapids squad, topped Ann Arbor Huron, Birmingham Seaholm, and lost twice to Rockford. While we don't know a ton about Zac Geschwendt's squad, we do know they haven't lost to an unranked team, and are in search of their first win over a ranked team when they return from break.
#10 ELHL Co-Op
One Mid-Michigan Team replaces another in the 10th spot as Madi Zink's SECOND ranked team (she coaches the girls as well) are inside the poll for the first time in her tenure. They picked up a near-double-digit win over a Saline squad that had a strong week and a couple of very strong individual performances. Give this team a lot of credit, they played a brutally tough Birmingham Groves squad to a two-goal loss on the road as well. It's a group with not many games under their belt, but positive signs.
On the Line: Dexter (97), Okemos (44), East Kentwood (24)
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.