Grand Haven water polo team gears up for Regionals

Tribune Staff • Oct 28, 2016 at 7:30 AM

The West Michigan regional water polo tournament kicks off tonight at Jenison High School. The opening round will pit the final four teams from the Western districts 1 and 2 against each other in a battle to advance to the next round. The Grand Haven boys team will take on East Grand Rapids at 5:15 p.m. for the right to play in the state tournament.

The Bucs (21-14 overall) won all five regular season meetings with the Pioneers (9-26 overall), outscoring them 58-17. Their last meeting was on Oct. 15 at the Rockford varsity tournament. The Bucs won that game, 12-6, tying for the closest game between the two teams.

EGR’s road to the regional went through District 2. As the second seed behind Rockford, they took an opening round win over Grandville, 12-9, before losing to Rockford in the district finals.

Grand Haven also carried a two seed into their district draw, but lost in a close first-round game against Zeeland, 10-11. Zeeland would go on to win the district, while the Bucs defeated Jenison in the third-place game, 7-9.

The two meet in the regional round of eight. The top four teams from the East and West regions earn the right to play in the state tournament hosted by Hudsonville, Nov. 11-12.

The Bucs enjoyed a top-eight ranking for a few weeks early in the season, but have since dropped to a shared No.9 ranking with Holt/East Lansing. East Grand Rapids is not ranked in the top ten and has struggled in tournament play thus far.

Five of the Pioneers nine victories on the year have come in tournament games, which make up 28 of their 35 total games. Grand Haven has enjoyed 15 tournament wins over the course of the season.

After the first round of regional games, the remaining round merely determines seeding for the state tournament. Should Grand Haven beat EGR, they will likely see a rematch with Zeeland on Saturday. Should they avenge that one-goal deficit from their last meeting, they can expect to see top-ranked Rockford in the regional championship later that day.

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