MWPA Week 6 Boys Top Ten
The Michigan Water Polo Association's week six top ten poll is here after a hotly contested week of boys games across the state.
Each team gets an adjective to describe their week of action.
#1 Hudsonville Eagles | Word of the Week: EMPHATIC
BOOM! The Eagles are unanimous number one again after a perfect week and their biggest tests to date. They went up 12-2 on #2 Ann Arbor Skyline before the Eagles mounted a late charge in a Hudsonville win. They took care of the other #2, Ann Arbor Pioneer the next day, and fought off a strong Upper Arlington (Ohio) group to keep it a perfect week and perfect 23-0. They're 12-0 against top tens and continue to be the standard. Josh Ahrendt's group gets full marks for this one.
#2 Ann Arbor Skyline Eagles | Word of the Week: Scary
They were down 12-2 at #1 Hudsonville. Things did not look good. Ashley Hower's group knows that the truth in that game probably lay somewhere in the middle...and then it got there. A spark, the use of their star guys, some good defensive stops, and they went on an 8-1 run to make things hairy inside the last minute of play. The only way they get another crack at Hudsonville will be at states, and you would imagine it should be an excellent game. They're still 18-2, 7-1 against top tens, and got the win over Ann Arbor Pioneer to break the 2-vs-2 poll tie. All-in-all, defintely not a bad week.
#3 Ann Arbor Pioneer Pioneers | Word of the Week: Lurky
Not even sure "Lurky" is a word. But they are actively lurking in the shadows and are definitely a problem for the teams in front of them. They lost the 2-vs-2 crosstown rivalry in a one-goal game, but as we all know, the most dangerous thing you can do is play Don Packard a second or third time. I'd rather get a face tattoo than endure that pain. Skyline actively faces that threat. Hudsonville may face it too. Pioneer is battle tested at 16-7-1, and unafraid to challenge themselves. They did get two-top ten wins this week and are 9-4 against top ten teams in one of the tougher schedules in the state.
#4 Rockford Rams | Word of the Week: Resurgent
The first chunk of their schedule yielded mixed results, and no one was REALLY sure what Rockford was. Then, they went out and tied #2 Ann Arbor Pioneer, and defeated Upper Arlington who had earlier beat #2 Ann Arbor Skyline, tied with #2 Ann Arbor Pioneer, and narrowly lost to #1 Hudsonville. Transitive property says Craig Peterman's crew is back on the rise. At 19-5-1 they have the state's second most wins, are 5-2-1 vs. out-of-state teams, and 9-3 vs. top tens. They have a widely varied schedule, taking on opponents from everywhere, which should give them an interesting feel in the postseason.
#5 Jenison Wildcats | Word of the Week: Pesky
I want to preface this: If the teams I coached and play for would have been called Pesky, that would have been the dream. I LOVE Pesky teams. And I love Jenison. They bow to no one. They scratched and clawed with #2 Ann Arbor Skyline and #4 Rockford, and they take care of business against teams behind them. Jason Sweedyk's group plays pestilential defense, and they just never go away. They are, as the kids say "A Problem." Those Pesky Wildcats wrap up District play this next stretch including what could be a telling test against Grand Haven (May 9).
#6 Birmingham Groves Gators | Word of the Week: Bruisers
When I went to Birmingham Seaholm about a billion years ago, every game I ever played against Groves I left feeling not sweet. They are a punishing crew to contend with, and continue to feature that style as they steamrolled through District seed weekend in D3. We're going to learn plenty more about Steve Curry and Bob Sala's group going forward - they get #3 Ann Arbor Pioneer and formerly ranked rival Birmingham Seaholm to wrap up the regular season.
#7 ELHL Co-Op | Word of the Week: Burgeoning
Listen I'm just glad I could spell that word first try. It fits - their season has been a crescendo. Rapidly improving returns against better and better teams each week. Madi Zink's group took out the team previously sitting here (East Grand Rapids), and East Kentwood to show they are right on a collision course with none other than District two's long time dominator: Rockford. They'll also have dates with Ann Arbor Skyline and crosstown rival Okemos towards the end of the regular season. Buckle up!
#8 East Grand Rapids Pioneers | Word of the Week: Battler
They are one of the smaller, by numbers, rosters in the state. They're in a highly competitive district. But they just battle. It's super impressive to watch them work, because they teams they play night-in and night-out, records aside, are never bad. They doubled up East Kentwood and Mason/Grand Ledge, and rebounded from their loss with ELHL to beat Okemos who has received votes in the poll all year. That's a 3-1 week which is anything BUT bad for Raheem Brown's Pio's.
#9 Grand Haven Buccaneers | Word of the Week: Refreshed
Bill Hamm's Bucco's have recovered a bit from some mid-season absences to start to play better polo down the stretch. The fended off Zeeland, played a hard-nosed contest with Ann Arbor Pioneer, and finished 4-2 on the week. That's definitely not nothing. They played a ton of reps without some of their best players and now get opportunities with the line up back near full strength to get rolling. They'll need to roll quickly - they get Hudsonville and Zeeland this week before a late-season date with Jenison.
#10 Ann Arbor Huron River Rats | Word of the Week: Mysterious
What are Paul Barnett's River Rats? You could look at their win-loss record and think one thing, but then you look at some of their results and you wonder, how close are they to turning the corner? Keep in mind, they play in a district with the defending state runners-up and two teams that were both ranked SECOND state wide last week (now 2 and 3). So the Rats, who picked up a top ten win over Birmingham Seaholm last week, are here in the poll, in arguably the most contentious district in the state, and we are only beginning to learn who they are. But, they are one thing: back in the poll!
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On the Line: Birmingham Seaholm (71), Okemos (40), Zeeland (31)
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.