Yes water polo fans, it's time to determine the 2012 Champion and the State Tournament promises to be one of the most competitive in state history. The brackets are listed below showing the teams followed by their seeding for the State Tournament. Simply stated, if you want to advance to the quarterfinals, you need to finish in the top two of your bracket. Heck, you can even succumb to pressure in one of your games and still have a chance to advance. Upsets are possible which could create ties within the brackets in which advancement to the next round will be determined by fewest goals allowed. The quarterfinals will be cross bracket matches between bracket winners and the number two teams from the other brackets. Saturday will bring the semifinals and finals along with other games determining finishes through 12th place.
This season has been a great year for parity and the top six teams have realistic hopes of becoming the 2012 champion. No team is unbeatable and all have lost to in-state opponents which will make for a very tense and exciting tournament. From the Committee's perspective, the top seeded teams should advance to the quarterfinals, but an #8 vs. #9 match up between Puyallup and Peninsula promises to be close. Ironically both the #1 and #2 seeds have tough matches in their brackets, Matches to keep and eye on are Auburn Riverside (#5) vs. Mercer Island (#1) in bracket A as well as Newport(#6) vs. Auburn Mountainview(#2) in bracket B. The winners of these games should win their bracket and have a favorable path to the semis. In bracket C, Bellevue should advance but will face tough competition in the quarterfinals against either Newport or Auburn Mountainview. Curtis should win bracket D and advance to the quarters where their likely opponent will be Auburn Riverside, if the Ravens don't win their bracket.
We're talking about youth and playoff pressure so anything can happen, but the Committee would not be surprised to see the top four seeded teams advance to the semis, though Newport (#6) could be the spoiler. All the teams in the tournament have shown the ability to score but offensive stats can be overrated. Defense wins championships and the top four teams have consistently played strong defense all year showing the ability to defend the counter attack, pressure the perimeter and defend the hole set. In addition, they have all won games against other top ranked teams executing their offense when the easy stuff has been taken away.
A B C D
Mercer Island(1) Auburn Mountainview(2) Bellevue(3) Curtis(4)
Auburn Riverside(5) Newport(6) Enumclaw(7) Puyallup(8)
Bainbridge(12) Emerald Ridge(11) Lakes(10) Peninsula(9)
Mercer Island: Balanced attack, team defense and big game experience.
Auburn Mountainview: Has the defense to keep opponents in check and the offense to put points on the board. Win the bracket and the rest falls in place.
Bellevue: Likes the role of the underdog. Defending champ still improving. Brings both offensive and defensive teamwork to the pool every game and has won pressure games.
Curtis: It's tradition. Depth, experience, tough defense, and potent offense puts them in the middle of the hunt for the title.
Newport: The talent is there but they need a team effort and focus if they want a shot.
Auburn Riverside: Has the tools but a tough draw and path to the semis. If they make it there, they might just make it all the way.
Enumclaw: Has beat some higher seeded teams this year. Can score but needs more consistency on defense if they want to get to the semis
Puyallup: Can make things exciting with their ability to score but not quite ready for prime time against the top six teams
Maybe Next Year
Peninsula: Showing improvement with a shot to advance to quarters
Lakes: Tough bracket. A top 8 finish would be huge.
Emerald Ridge: This will be a little tougher than the Wild Card Tournament, but great experience for the future.
Bainbridge: You made it to State. Play your hearts out!
The objective of the tournament is to determine the champion, but this tournament is also about promoting and celebrating high school water polo in Washington. For our water polo community, it is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. Every team has their own unique story of challenges and accomplishments throughout the season and a loss, though disappointing, should not diminish their achievements. All of the players and coaches deserve our recognition and respect. Regardless of the outcomes, be sure to show your appreciation to all the athletes, coaches, referees, officials and volunteers that make this Championship tournament possible. Enjoy!!!