The varsity girls water polo team was down at Birmingham Groves this past weekend for the 2014 MWPA East Regional Championships. The Chieftains, fresh off a district title, competed in the 8 team field against some of top teams in the state of Michigan and came away with the regional championship.
Okemos 11 Ann Arbor Pioneer 3
In the regional quarterfinal game on Friday afternoon, the Chiefs jumped out to an 8-1 lead at the half and never looked back topping the 10th ranked Ann Arbor Pioneer Pioneers to advance to the semi-final round and clinch a spot in the 2014 state tournament. Alex Chow and Sarah Williams paced the team with four goals a piece and sound defense and goaltending held the Pioneers to only three goals for the game.
Okemos 6 Saline 5
In what was one of the most exciting games of the season, the Chiefs and third ranked Hornets battled back and forth for four tough quarters. The Chiefs got on the board on the first possession of the game, but Saline battled back to take a 2-1 lead in the opening quarter before the Chiefs tied it up prior to the quarter ending. Defense ruled the game as Okemos built a 4-2 lead in the second quarter before Saline cut it back to one just before halftime. In the third quarter Saline battled back to force a 5-5 tie going into the final quarter of play. The defensive stalemate continued until there was 1:12 to go in regulation when Jennifer Przybylo notched the game winning goal. Katie Dudley paced the team with three goals for the game, and Rachel Sternik was sound in net stopping 12 shots.
Okemos 9 Ann Arbor Huron 6
The Chiefs made their fourth appearance in the last five years in the regional championship game, and this time awaiting them were the fourth ranked Ann Arbor Huron River Rats. Okemos jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, this time connecting twice in the opening minute of the game. The momentum carried over into the second quarter as Okemos built a 6-1 lead. Ann Arbor Huron though battled back cutting the lead at one point to a 6-5 game in the fourth quarter, before the offense came alive again on a pair of goals from Sarah Williams and a goal from Emily Wozena to put the game away for the 9-6 win and the regional title. The win marked the fourth regional championship for the program in the last five years, and earns a number one seed for the upcoming state tournament on May 30th and 31st at Saline High School.
Joining the Chiefs will be the other regional semi-finalists & finalists – Saline, Ann Arbor Huron, and Ann Arbor Skyline. From the west regional, Zeeland, Hudsonville, Jenison, and Rockford advanced to the state weekend.
State Tournament Schedule at Saline High School
Friday, May 30th:
4:00 PM – Okemos vs. Rockford
5:15 PM – Hudsonville vs. Saline
6:30 PM – Zeeland vs. Ann Arbor Skyline
7:45 PM – Ann Arbor Huron vs. Jenison
Saturday, May 31st:
8:00 AM – (Consolation Bracket) Okemos/Rockford Loser vs. Hudsonville/Saline Loser
9:15 AM – (Consolation Bracket) Zeeland/Skyline Loser vs. Huron/Jenison Loser
10:30 AM – (Championship Bracket) Okemos/Rockford Winner vs. Hudsonville/Saline Winner
11:45 AM – (Championship Bracket) Zeeland/Skyline Winner vs. Huron/Jenison Winner
3:45 PM – 7th Place Game
5:00 PM – 5th Place Game
6:15 PM – 3rd Place Game
7:30 PM – 1st Place Game
Regional Season & Tournament Honors
The Chiefs were well represented on the all-region season and all-region tournament teams. Katie Dudley and Sarah Williams earned 1st team season and tournament honors. Sydney Fountain earned 2nd team season and tournament honors. Rachel Sternik earned honorable mention season and 2nd team tournament honors. Emily Wozena earned 2nd team tournament honors. Katie Dudley was named the 2014 East Region Season MVP and Tournament MVP for her efforts this season.
For being placed on the first and second team season teams, Dudley, Williams, and Fountain are automatically up for all-state season honors which will be announced at the conclusion of the state tournament in Saline.