The 2018 #2 ranked Grand Ledge Varsity Water Polo team took its first steps toward its first ever berth in the state tournament by achieving another program first: an MWPA East Region District 3 Championship. In a division dominated by perennial state contenders from Okemos the Comets finally found a way to push through and claim the coveted trophy, 13-4 on Saturday evening at Mason High School.
1st year Head Coach Alec Mull broke down the weekend for his team, “It’s been very rewarding to watch these GL girls continue to improve and develop a competitive spirit that has enabled our program and these individual girls to succeed this year, and in their futures.”
Senior captain Amiya Harris summed up the win this way. “We have never experienced this before so It gave us the reassurance that when we trust in each other we can do whatever we put our minds to,” she said. “I’m excited to see what regionals looks like for our team.”
The road to the title saw the team compete in 3 games over the course of two days. First up the team took on the Colts from Troy High. The team was sharp early and often as they sprinted to a dominating 18-4 victory. Sophomore Grace Weston & senior Emma Cornel led the way for the team with 6 goals a piece. Junior Isabel Lee scored 4 more while senior Amiya Harris netted one & junior Anah Stahelin scored one as well to complete the scoring. Senior Emily Glasgow was strong between the pipes for the Comets. With the 1st round win the team secured its second straight berth in the Regional Tournament played at Ann Arbor Huron May 18-19.
Next up the team was challenged by a strong squad from Lake Orion. In the end the Comets depth and fitness played a major role as they pulled away in the 2nd half for the 14-8 victory to set up the showdown in the finals with the Okemos Chieftains. Against Lake Orion the team started slowly and led by a score of just 4-3 at the half. The Comets outscored their opponent 6-1 in the 3rd period to give themselves a cushion they would maintain the rest of the way. The team was led against the Dragons by Isabel Lee who sniped her way to 6 goals and 4 assists. Emma Cornell also put home 4 goals & sophomore Lola Mull scored 2 of her own to go with 1 assist & 2 steals. Grace Weston & Amiya Harris completed the scoring with one goal each. The tandem of Morgan Moore & Emily Glasgow did a strong job in cage as they combined for 18 saves as the Dragons attempted to pepper the cage with shots all game.
The District Final was set as a rematch from last season’s District Championship game won by Okemos 15-0. The Comets turned the tables for the first time in postseason play against the Chiefs & avenged last seasons defeat by running away to a 13-4 victory. Lola Mull scored 5 goals, 2 assists & 5 steals while Emma Cornell scored 4 goals all in the 1st period and chipped in 8 steals. The Comets led 9-2 at the half & continued to extend their lead after the intermission break. Isabel Lee scored a hat trick with 3 goals & Grace Weston scored 1 goal to go along with her 4 assists. Senior Emily Glasgow was strong in the cage as she made 7 saves including a rare save on a penalty shot.
Senior captain Emma Cornell broke down the teams success this weekend like this, “It felt really great to be making history with such a great team and great coaches. I think it gave us a lot of confidence going into regionals to try to qualify for states.”
Coach Mull put the historic weekend into perspective; “I am honored to be a part of this program and these girls lives. I have enjoyed helping them to develop skills and a competitive spirit that will hopefully benefit them for the rest of their lives.”
Next the team travels to Ann Arbor Huron High School on Friday evening for a showdown with the #9 ranked team from Ann Arbor Skyline at 6:30pm. Winner earns a berth in the State Tournament and advances one step closer to claiming the East Region Championship for the state of Michigan.
2) Grand Ledge
5) AA Huron
7) West Ottawa
8) AA Pioneer
9) AA Skyline
10) East Grand Rapids