Sunday, November 7, 2010

Final 2010 Boys High School Rankings

  1. Mercer Island
  2. Curtis
  3. Rogers
  4. Newport
  5. Roosevelt
  6. Bellevue
  7. Enumclaw
  8. Wilson
  9. Auburn
  10. Lakes
In an epic showdown of titanic water polo powers, Mercer Island beat CPA in the High School Club Championship game 8 to 5.  With the score tied at 1 apiece after the first quarter, Mercer Island was able to shut out CPA in the second and third quarters while tallying 5 goals.  In the end the deficit was too much for CPA to overcome and Mercer Island wins the championship for the 11th year in a row.  A great season for the Islanders complete with sweet revenge, a championship, and the #1 ranking in the final poll.  Speaking of epic dramatic championship finals, the South Sound State Championship showdown between Curtis and Rogers lived up to the hype. With the atmosphere of a heavyweight title match, the Rogers faithful arrived in force hoping for their first title in 20 years.  Tied at the end of the first quarter, both teams were locked in a defensive battle.  At the half Curtis held a 1 point lead at 3 to 2.  Championships are won with defense and offensive adjustments to take advantage of what little is given.  This is where a season's worth of conditioning and hard work comes down to the final 14 minutes of a long season.  In the end, the Curtis Vikings had just a little more depth  and were able to outscore and outlast Rogers in an action packed 9 to 7 victory.  A fantastic season earns Curtis the #2 ranking in the final poll.  For Rogers it has been a great season and the Rams retain the #3 spot in the final poll.  A young Newport team put a trip to California to good use to gain valuable experience prior to the state tournament.  Two exciting wins over Roosevelt proved that Newport was one of the most improved teams in the playoffs, and the Knights jump up to the #4 spot in the final rankings.  Roosevelt was on the ropes going into a cross-over game against Bellevue and in danger of plunging in the polls.  Defense made the difference as the Roughriders prevailed over the Wolverines 11 -7 to retain their #5 ranking.  Bellevue’s season ended with a 14 to 7 victory over Bainbridge, but the loss to Roosevelt drops the Wolverines to #6 in the final poll.  Going into the playoffs, the Hornets of Enumclaw seemed to be struggling and a first round match against Curtis looked ominous for the Hornets.  Despite losing 9 to 2, the match was much closer than the score indicating the Hornets were going to cause trouble for opponents the rest of the way.   The Hornets pulled together and ran the table with victories over Puyallup, Wilson and Auburn to earn an impressive 3rd place finish in the South Sound State Tournament and the #7 spot in the final rankings.  Hey, after a weekend like that,  it seems a higher ranking is in order, but it gets crowded at the top and the Committee can't completely forget the regular season.  Wilson was victorious in the first round of the playoffs, but was not able to keep Rogers in check in the second round.  Hopes for a third place finish were dashed by Enumclaw, but the Rams did close the tournament with an impressive win over Lakes and finish the year with the #8 ranking.  Auburn came into the playoffs ranked #6.   After an opening round victory over Puyallup, the Trojans fell flat against the Curtis Vikings and barely survived in their next game against Lakes before falling to Enumclaw.  Yes, the Committee knows you finished the tournament ahead of the Wilson Rams, but in the final rankings you are falling behind Wilson at # 9.  The difference proved to be performance against common opponents in the playoffs.  Hey Lakes, welcome to the top ten.  It’s been a long road but your impressive win over Auburn Mountainview and close loss against Auburn shows how far you’ve come since the beginning of the season.  The #10 spot is for the Lancers to cherish until next season.  Sorry Auburn Mountainview, you had a nice season but you are dropping out of the top 10 to end the year.  The Committee expects the Lions to roar loud next year.

Though much time, research, and thought are put into the process, these rankings are only the opinion of the Committee.  They are intended to provide information and fun for those who follow high school water polo,  as well as to promote water polo to a larger fan base.  No disrespect is intended to any team, and I encourage each team to fully celebrate their accomplishments in their respective leagues.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Overview for the High School Club State Championship (North)


6 teams are entered into the Championship Tournament for the high school club teams in the north end. The teams are divided into two brackets based on seeding.  Bracket A has #1 CPA, #4 Bellevue, and #6 Bainbridge.  Bracket B has #2 Mercer Island, #3 Roosevelt and #5 Newport.  The objective in bracket play is simple.  If you win your bracket, you advance to the semi-finals.  Otherwise you play a cross bracket elimination game.  So the second place finisher in bracket A will play the third place finisher in Bracket B. In theory, a team could go winless in bracket play and still qualify for the semi-final by winning their cross bracket match and that scenario is not out of the question.
Friday evening will be basically round robin play within the brackets.  In Bracket A, CPA is undefeated in league play and will be the favorite to advance to the semis.  CPA is the strongest team but they do have a tendency to allow their opponents to hang around.  Bellevue might be able to make it close, but expect CPA to punch their ticket directly to the semis.  Bellevue should finish second followed by Bainbridge Island.
In Bracket B, Mercer Island is the strong favorite.  Roosevelt and Newport just don’t have the depth and experience to challenge the Islanders.  Mercer Island should easily advance to the semis.   The game of the night is between Newport vs. Roosevelt.  Even though Roosevelt is the higher seed, the Roughriders have only managed to squeak by their opponents.  Roosevelt defeated Newport early in the season by 1 point with a game winning shot in the closing seconds. This one promises to be a nail biter. The winner of this game has the inside track to the semis and the loser will most likely face Bellevue in the cross bracket game.
Regardless of which teams amongst Bellevue, Newport, Roosevelt, or Bainbridge survive the cross bracket games and advance to the semis, their road to the finals will come to an abrupt end.  You can pretty much count on the championship final to be Mercer Island vs. CPA. 
The finals promise to be an epic battle.  The regular season match between CPA and Mercer Island went the distance with CPA coming from behind to win by 1 point.  Without a doubt, one of the most exciting high level games of the year.   Expect this final match to be every bit as thrilling.  Both teams are loaded with talent but Mercer Island has an edge in one important intangible.  Expect the Islander’s senior leadership to make the difference as they win their 11th straight title.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Overview for the South Sound State Championship

LIONS, VIKINGS, AND RAMS: OH MY! (Plus Hornets, Trojans, and Lancers too)

Playoff Teams

West Division                                             East Division

1. Rogers                                                      1. Auburn
2. Curtis                                                        2. Wilson
3. Lakes                                                        3. Enumclaw
4. Puyallup                                                    4. Auburn Mountainview

The South Sound playoffs are played out to 8th place so each team is guaranteed at least 3 games.  The objective is simple: Survive and Advance.  However, the first round might be better described as conquer and advance.  The higher seeds have a definite advantage in skill and experience.  Upsets in the first round are unlikely with one possible exception. More on that a little later.

The Lions of Auburn Mountainview surprised themselves this year as the young team proved early on in the season that they were a playoff contender.  A great accomplishment, but as the East #4 seed, they are no match against a powerful Rogers squad that exudes experience, balance, offense and defense.  The Lions will be able to build upon the experience for next year, but this year look for Rogers to advance to the semis.

Auburn has had a stellar season and earned the #1 seed in the East.  Congratulations to Puyallup who is the #4 seed out of the West, but the Vikings are in no position to make much noise in the playoffs this year.  Look for the Auburn Trojans to advance easily to the semis.

The Hornets of Enumclaw have had a great season and proved that they can compete with both Auburn and Wilson.  However, the #3 seed does not help their cause this year as the Hornets open up against a mighty Curtis team.  The Hornets fell hard to Curtis just a few weeks ago and it's unlikely they can do much to overcome the Vikings now.  Look for Curtis to advance to the semis.

The possible exception mentioned earlier is the #2 vs. #3 matchup between Wilson and Lakes. This looks to be the most competitive game of the first round.  The Lakes Lancers are young and have not had much success against ranked teams so far, but the Lancers keep getting a little better each week.  Wilson finished strong but have showed some inconsistency this year.  This game has the potential to be close, but Wilson should advance to the semis.

Assuming the upper seeds prevail in the first round, the semis promise to be much more competitive. As the #1 and #2 seeds collide, the pressure will be building and it will be interesting to see which teams will handle it.  Auburn as the East #1 seed should be matched against the West #2 Curtis.  For the Trojans it has been a great ride, but Curtis is bringing too much power, balance and defense.  Look for the Vikings to advance to the finals.

A potential Rogers-Wilson matchup should be a great game.  Rogers will be the favorite in this Battle of the Rams.  Rogers has all the tools to win a championship, but if you are looking for an upset, this is the game. Its ironic that Wilson who has the most difficult matchup in the first round also poses the most difficult matchup in the semis. The excitement and pressure will be intense and Wilson has the tools to hang around in this game if their defense can step up.  This one will be a nail biter but look for the Rams to advance to the final.  (I mean Rogers)

The traits of a high school water polo champion include senior leadership, teamwork, balance, high power offense and a strong defense.  Both Rogers and Curtis exhibit these traits in abundance.  Barring any upsets, this will be the Championship game.  The team that can handle the pressure and minimize their defensive breakdowns will win, but it's too close for me to call.  

Good luck to all the teams.  You've all earned the right to continue your season this weekend.  ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF IT!