- Mercer Island
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.