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GH polo advances to state tournament

Tribune Staff • Oct 27, 2018 at 12:09 AM

The Grand Haven boys water polo team clinched their fifth straight berth to the state championship tournament Friday night, defeating East Grand Rapids in the opening round of the regional tournament, 7-3, at Hudsonville High School.

The win guarantees the Bucs as one of the final four standing at the West regional, who will meet the East region’s top four teams at the state tournament.

The remaining rounds of the regional tournament will determine seeding and a regional champion.

“We played a really well coached and disciplined team from EGR,” said Grand Haven head coach Bill Hamm. “Both teams had some real tournament nerves to shake off.”

Grand Haven struck first in the contest, but the Pioneers responded well, bringing a 2-2 tie into the first break.

The game was even through the second quarter, with the Bucs taking the lead as the half expired, capitalizing on a man-up situation.

Grand Haven calmed down for the third quarter, executing their game plan well to earn a 6-3 advantage heading into the final frame, giving the bench a chance to finish out the contest in the fourth for a 7-3 victory.

Thomas MacDonald and Ethan Ball each nabbed multiple steals in a characteristically strong defensive effort, while Mark Wilgenburg led the offense with four of the Bucs’ seven goals. Keeper Mark Nordin recorded one of his best games of the season, racking up 18 saves.

Grand Haven returns to the pool at 10:15 a.m. today to face off with Rockford in the regional semifinals. A win would advance them to the title game at 3:15 p.m., while a loss earns a chance to play for third place at 2 p.m.

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