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Team Profiles - Spring 2024 Girls

Updated: Apr 19




Author: Alli Littlejohn - Saline Milan Girls Coach & MWPA Official

Updated Friday, April 19th 2024


Team Profiles were written based on a questionnaire sent out to coaches earlier this season.


Now that spring breaks across the state are over, the 2024 Girls season is coming back in full swing and things are starting to heat up with district play. We'll be highlighting our teams and how they are approaching their seasons this year. From seasoned veterans to fresh faces, each team brings its own unique flair and ambition to the pool. Let's dive in and explore the vibrant world of high school water polo in Michigan!


Division 1


Portage

Head Coach: Samantha DeVries 

Assistant Coaches: Jen Treharne and Kelsey Diepstra. 


Entering her third year at the helm of the Portage Muskies Women's Team, DeVries brings a wealth of experience and passion to the pool. A founding member of the original Portage team in 1996 and a standout player at GVSU, her deep connection to the sport infuses every aspect of her coaching. Treharne, a former rival player hailing from Jenison and WMU, who injects fresh perspective and energy into the coaching staff. With the recent addition of Treharne, the team is poised for renewed vigor and enthusiasm. This season, the Muskies are on a mission to elevate their game to new heights, foster the growth of water polo in Southwest Michigan, and expand their ranks. However, their ambitions are balanced with a commitment to enjoying every moment and fostering a sense of camaraderie. Key players like Senior Kaiseen Davis, renowned for her exceptional teamwork and leadership, Senior Maddie Toth, a beacon of sportsmanship and positivity, and Norah Lyons, a steadfast team anchor and supportive teammate, exemplify the Muskies' ethos of unity and excellence. Embracing the motto "family, pizza, and sandwiches," the Muskies cultivate a culture of inclusivity, fun, and unwavering support both in and out of the pool.


Grand Haven

Head Coach: Andrew Thorsby 

Assistant Coach: Jojo Gager 



In his third year with the Grand Haven Girls Water Polo team, Thorsby brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the pool. Joining him this season is Gager, a seasoned coach embarking on her first year leading the West Ottawa squad after assisting Jeff Hardy prior to his retirement. Together with a dedicated support staff including Hannah Baker, Amerasia Miller, Amanda Pierce, Jordyn Rademaker, and Kinley Tubergen, they form a formidable coaching lineup committed to the success of Grand Haven polo. Baker, a stalwart assistant coach, brings years of expertise and unwavering support to the team, while Miller, Rademaker, and Tubergen, former players under Thorsby's tutelage, return to ensure the program's continued success. Pierce, a medical student with a passion for the sport, renews her ties to water polo after a four-year hiatus. As Grand Haven partners with West Ottawa this year, both teams eagerly embrace the opportunity to collaborate and compete. With a talented roster of juniors poised to lead the charge, including standout players like #1 Aidan Lepo, a formidable goalie anchoring the defense, and #10 Emily Dixon, a lightning-fast force on both ends of the pool, the Lake Panthaneers are primed for an exciting season of competitive play and growth. Under the guidance of Senior Captain #20 Clara Squio De Cezaro, a versatile and experienced leader, the team is prepared to adapt and excel in any role required for success.


Hudsonville

Head Coach: Ian Hewett 

Assistant Coaches: John Neeb and Emily Tuttle


Hewett, a Hudsonville alum, boasts seven seasons as head coach, anchoring the team with his wealth of experience both in and out of the pool. Complementing his leadership, Neeb brings 24 years of coaching expertise, including seven seasons as Hudsonville's JV Coach, while Tuttle, another former Eagle, offers invaluable insights as Assistant Coach for three seasons. Together, they spearhead the Eagles' quest for a dynamic season marked by growth, camaraderie, and continuous improvement. The team's nucleus includes the formidable junior centers, #23 Tarin Zank and #24 Addie Laning, poised to leave a lasting impact. Junior #9 Emily Feenstra showcases versatility across all positions, demonstrating a remarkable skill set that even extends to backup goalie duties. Guiding the team with steadfast leadership are Senior Captains #4 Emma Dale, #7 Liana Bomberg, and #15 Brooke Henry, whose collective experience and dedication promise to elevate team cohesion and performance. With this blend of talent and leadership, the Eagles are primed for an exhilarating journey of growth and achievement this season.


Zeeland

Head Coach: Dave Vruggink 

Assistant Coach: Hannah Stein


Embarking on his remarkable 25th season with the Zeeland team, Vruggink's coaching journey began right after his collegiate swimming career at Hope College. Despite his roots at Grandville, he has seamlessly integrated into the Zeeland community, even guiding the children of former athletes—a testament to his enduring impact. Assisting him this season is Coach Stein, bringing added expertise and enthusiasm to the fold. Zeeland sets its sights on securing a berth in the Regional Tournament, fueled by the determination to excel on the big stage. Among the standout performers are Senior #7 Abby Brinks, Senior Goalie #1 Emily Pifer, Senior #8 Jenna Meyer, Junior #10 Ava Levandoski, and Sophomore #6 Peyton Weenum, each poised to leave their mark on the season. Reflecting on the team's journey, Vruggink acknowledges the challenges faced last year but takes pride in their resilience and growth. With the majority of the 2023 squad returning, Zeeland is primed to build on past successes and forge ahead with unwavering determination.


NOTE: Jenison and Grandville did not respond to requests for details on their teams. 


District 2

Forest Hills

Head Coach: Sara Fredricks 

Assistant Coaches: Celine Johnson and Madi Crookston. 


Fredricks is embarking on her second full season as head coach, following 4 1/2 years as assistant before assuming the lead midway through the 2022 season. A Rockford alumna, Fredricks culminated her playing career as State runner-up in 2017, fostering a deep-seated love for the sport. Her fortune lies in the alignment with a team of athletes who share her fervor, motivation, and energy, propelling them to set loftier goals each year. Forest Hills benefits from the expertise of Johnson and Crookston, both Forest Hills alumni. Crookston's return, fresh from a four-year stint as goalie at CBU, proves invaluable as assistant/goalie coach, while Johnson's third season as assistant reinforces a culture of positivity and industriousness within the team. Buoyed by the success of their record-breaking 2023 season, Forest Hills endeavors to build upon that foundation, with returning players demonstrating heightened resolve and dedication. Among them, Senior #13 Nora Havemeier stands as an exemplar of leadership and commitment, both in and out of the water, inspiring her teammates with her unwavering dedication and skill. Junior #6 Nora Magers embodies resilience and agility, anchoring the team's offense and defense with her astute strategy and tireless work ethic. As they embark on the season, Fredricks and her team are poised for greatness, driven by a shared passion for the sport and a collective pursuit of excellence.


Mason

Head Coach: Betsy Collins 

Assistant Coaches: Morgan Vandergiessen and Analiese Guettler. 


Collins boasts a rich history with Mason girls water polo since 2012, extending her influence to developing a boys team in 2019. Her enduring passion for the sport stems from its inherent challenges, driving her commitment to its growth. Vandergiessen, a former Mason player from the class of 2022, injects fresh energy and a profound love for water polo into the program, promising to elevate its dynamics. With a clear aim to foster team cohesion and bolster confidence, Mason is poised for a transformative journey this season. Despite having a modest number of returners, the team remains resolute in building both its roster and collective self-assurance. Representing a diverse blend from three different schools, Mason aspires to reclaim the independence of Grand Ledge and Mason as separate teams, thereby revitalizing the once-thriving polo community in the greater Lansing area.


Rockford

Head Coach: Katie Sizemore

Assistant Coach: Lexi Chisholm

JV Coaches: Jerrad Reickard (Head), Grace Boeve (Assistant)


Sizemore's tenure with the program dates back to 2008, assuming the role of Head Coach in 2014, following an illustrious high school career at Rockford. A standout athlete, she garnered All-State honors throughout her four years and earned distinction as a two-time All-American. Her collegiate journey led her to Michigan State University, where she played a pivotal role in securing the National Championship in 2006, clinching various individual accolades along the way. Reickard, a fellow Rockford alum, played an integral part in the school's inaugural State Championship triumph. Similarly, Chisholm, a graduate of the class of 2015, contributed to Rockford's consecutive State Championship victories in 2012 and 2013. Boeve, a standout from Hudsonville's class of 2019, played a significant role in securing three state championships for her alma mater. Despite boasting a youthful roster this season, the Rams remain resolute in their pursuit of postseason success. Anticipating a season marked by growth and development, Sizemore and her dedicated staff brace for the inevitable highs and lows along the way. The team's leadership mantle rests upon the capable shoulders of Junior #2 Avery Rottier, Junior #6 Devin Fisher, and Senior #3 Sydney Pursifull—all serving as Team Captains. Rottier and Fisher, having contributed significantly in supporting roles last season, are expected to step into expanded leadership roles this year. Meanwhile, Pursifull's transition from goalie to field player underscores her adaptability and burgeoning importance to the team, with her unwavering leadership and positive demeanor serving as pillars of strength.


NOTE: East Kentwood, East Grand Rapids, and East Lansing did not respond to requests for details on their teams. 


District 3

Walled Lake

Head Coach: Claire Bartosic 

Assistant Coaches: Brycen Gwyn and Sean Collins. 


Bartosic's coaching journey with the Walled Lake program began in 2020 when she was recruited by Sean Collins, the Boys Coach, and she's been an integral part of the team ever since. Over the past five years, she's relished in the opportunity to nurture the team's growth. Witnessing the evolution of this year's senior group, who started with just 10 players, fills Bartosic with excitement as their passion has been instrumental in expanding the program and attracting new talent. Assisted by the dedicated coaches Gwyn and Collins, who specialize in goalie coaching and JV development respectively, Bartosic acknowledges the collective effort required to guide the team to success. The Cobras eagerly anticipate the return of their strong varsity lineup following their impressive 2nd-place finish in District 3 in 2023. With a robust influx of new talent, they're poised for an exciting season of development. Notable players include Senior Captains #12 Hannah Hulliberger, #14 Delaney Thibodeau, and #11 Maggie Henry, along with Senior #3 Blake Piggott, Junior Captain #19 Brooke Stec, and Senior #1 Nastia Karpov. Hulliberger's versatility shines as she leads the team in both goals and steals, while Thibodeau commands the set position with finesse and doubles down as a formidable defender. Henry's strategic prowess as the primary hole defender adds depth to the team's defensive strategy, while Piggott's defensive prowess is unmatched. Stec's sharp shooting and Karpov's goalkeeping prowess round out the team's formidable lineup. Bartosic's admiration for the team's camaraderie and unwavering passion for the sport serves as a testament to their collective drive for excellence, making them an inspiring group to be a part of.


Troy United

Head Coach: Tom Magner 

Assistant Coach: Annaliese Long 

Volunteer Goalie: Coach Tonya McDonnell. 


Entering their inaugural year with Troy United, both coaches bring a wealth of experience and passion to the table. Magner's coaching journey spans various schools, including Portage, Saline, and Huron, supplemented by his role as an official for MWPA. Both Magner and Long maintain their prowess in the sport, actively competing at the masters level. With Troy United offering a promising platform for growth, the team is poised for a bright future fueled by enthusiasm and determination. This season, their focus is twofold: laying a solid foundation for future success while honing fundamental skills and fostering team unity. Among the standout players are Junior Captain #10 Ana Sofia Hernandez-Gomez, a formidable set and defender; Senior Captain #1 Grace Cueny, anchoring the team as starting goaltender; Sophomore #9 Ellie MacLean, known for her versatility and sprinting prowess; and Freshman #12 Elizabeth Qu, showing promise as a budding driver and attacker. Despite their youth and relative inexperience, Magner acknowledges the team's rapid development in core skills, propelled by their collective dedication and hard work.


Grand Blanc

Head Coach: Emily Overmyer 

Assistant Coaches: Rachel Kish and Andrea Floyd. 



Both Overmyer and Kish have deep roots in Grand Blanc High School, having honed their skills playing for GBWP. Overmyer's water polo journey began remarkably early, founding the girls' high school water polo club as an 8th grader back in 1998, laying the foundation for the program's success. Meanwhile, Kish and Floyd, a Pioneer High School alumna, bring their own rich experiences to the coaching staff, enhancing the team's dynamics and skill development. With Overmyer marking her 11th season and Kish her 6th, their dedication is evident, matched by the team's enthusiasm for Floyd's fresh perspective. Eager to make waves, the team aims to secure their second-ever qualification for the State Tournament. Key players like Senior #8 Adrienne Densham, committed to McKendree University, #12 Olivia George, heading to Mercyhurst University, and #28 Autumn Woollcott, bound for Washington Jefferson College, embody the team's talent and ambition. Excitement runs high as the Bobcats will inaugurate their new natatorium in the 2024 season, setting the stage for a year of achievement and growth.


NOTE: Lake Orion, Birmingham Groves, and Birmingham Seaholm did not respond to requests for details on their teams. 


District 4

Chelsea

Head Coach: Jessica Hinderer 

Assistant Coach: Lydia Hargett. 


Hinderer's journey from Chelsea Bulldog player to head coach is a testament to her passion for the sport. Graduating in 2012, she experienced the highs and lows of water polo, dreaming of the success her players now enjoy. Her collegiate career at GVSU was nothing short of stellar, boasting back-to-back Midwest Conference Championships and earning top 10 National finishes. Transitioning seamlessly from player to coach, Hinderer took the reins in Chelsea in 2018, driven by her lifelong ambition to guide young athletes. Joining her is Hargett, a former All-State goalie and member of the reigning National Champion University of Michigan Club Water Polo team, whose expertise promises to elevate the team's performance. Chelsea radiates positivity and competitiveness, aiming to build on their historic state tournament appearance in 2023. With a roster brimming with experience, including standout players like Senior Captain #10 Kiera Crawley and Senior Captain #23 Gabriella Burgess, Chelsea is poised for success. Crawley, a defensive anchor and prolific scorer, epitomizes the team's resilience, while Burgess's selflessness and tenacity make her indispensable. Other key players include Junior #1 Sydney Barston, and Junior #19 Keygan Monahan. Barston, known as Chelsea’s "Brick Wall," brings unwavering dedication to her role, commanding the defense with precision. Monahan, a record-breaking goal scorer, embodies the team's spirit, driving them to new heights. As Crawley and Burgess lead the charge, Chelsea's legacy is in good hands, with their indomitable spirit inspiring future generations of players. Hinderer is proud of the team's accomplishments, both in and out of the water, knowing they've left an indelible mark on Chelsea's water polo legacy.


Ann Arbor Skyline

Head Coach: Reb Godek 

Assistant Coach: Riley Beemer



Godek brings a wealth of experience to the Eagles, having been a fixture in the program for all 15 varsity seasons, culminating in a state title triumph in 2015. Her dedication extends beyond the pool, with 7 years spent in the USAWP ODP program and the founding of Wolverine Water Polo in 2012. A proud Pioneer and University of Michigan alumna, Godek has also served as a high school social studies teacher for 17 years. Beemer, a standout graduate of Skyline, boasts an impressive athletic career, leading the team to their sole state title and earning first-team all-state honors. With her collegiate experience at Golden West College and Indiana University, Beemer brings a winning mentality to her third season with the Eagles. The team's aspirations are high, aiming for a strong showing at the State Tournament and striving to break into the top echelons of the bracket. This season, their focus lies on honing their technical skills and mental agility to gain a competitive edge. Keep an eye on key players like Senior Captain #3 Allie Deininger, whose tenacity drives the team's offense, Junior Captain #10 Britta Coultas, whose relentless energy sets the tone for any game, and Freshman Goalie #1 Julia Zhang, whose development promises excitement for the future of the Eagles.


Saline-Milan

Head Coach: Alli Littlejohn 

Assistant Coach: Abby Kowalczyk


Both Littlejohn (class of 2010) and Kowalczyk (class of 2014) proudly represent Saline as alumni. Littlejohn, now in her third year with the Chickadees, led the program to its most successful finishes in 2009 and 2010 as State Runner-Ups. With Kowalczyk joining her for a second season, the duo is poised to elevate the team's performance even further. Under Littlejohn's guidance, the Saline-Milan team has experienced a remarkable turnaround, progressing from a losing record in 2022 to a commendable 6th place finish in 2023. Now, in the 2024 season, the Chickadees are determined to secure a coveted spot at the State Tournament and aim to break into the top 4. Leading the charge are standout players like Senior Captains #5 Kiera Luhrs and #16 Dori Cook, alongside key contributors #8 Annabelle Williams and Senior Goalies #1 Laila Nemeth and #1A Kelsey Altevogt. Luhrs, a dominating force on the team, is relentless in her offensive pursuits, while Cook's defensive prowess as a strong center defender is unmatched. Williams showcases her speed and agility, consistently outpacing opponents and leading strong counterattacks. Meanwhile, Nemeth and Altevogt anchor the team's defense with their reliability and dedication to improving their skills. Sophomore players #11 Sara Mitchell, #12 Lila McKenna, and #2 Alex Lillie will be athletes to keep an eye on as they continue to develop throughout the season.


Ann Arbor Huron

Head Coach: JoLynn Montgomery

Assistant Coaches: Amy Bornschien, Betsy Clyde, Vladimir Tolchinsky


Montgomery enters her second year as the head coach for Huron, bringing with her a wealth of experience from her collegiate and club playing days. Having competed for UCSD in the early 1990s and later representing Tulane University and the University of Michigan during graduate school, Montgomery is deeply passionate about fostering a supportive environment for high school girls to grow both athletically and personally. Bornschein, a newcomer to the coaching staff, boasts an impressive background as a standout swimmer and water polo player at Ann Arbor Pioneer. Clyde, now in her eighth year as assistant coach, brings a blend of playing experience from her time at Huron and the University of Miami, Ohio club team, complemented by her exceptional organizational prowess. Tolchinsky, the team's esteemed goalie coach, draws from his experience as a former goalie for Moscow State University to impart invaluable wisdom to the Huron squad. With a focus on collective growth and individual development, the River Rats are poised to make waves both in and out of the pool this season. Key contributors include Junior #2 Mada Montgomery, whose rapid progression over the past 18 months has established her as a force on both offense and defense; Senior #4 Anna Wyman, renowned for her leadership both in and out of the water; Senior #9 Ece Uyulur, known for her versatility and unwavering leadership; Junior #7 Ashley Paterson, a defensive stalwart evolving into an offensive threat; Junior Goalie #1 Savannah Duman, a formidable presence guarding the net; and Seniors #16 Claire Leone and #15 Rihanna Gleason, defensive anchors renowned for their tenacity and skill.


NOTE: Ann Arbor Pioneer and Dexter did not respond to requests for details on their teams. 

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