Girls’ High School Water Polo Team Qualifies Again for Regional Tournament

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Friday, May 18, 2018, 8:04 am
By: 
Telaina Eriksen

The Holt/East Lansing (HOTEL) combined girls’ high school water polo team has qualified for the Michigan Water Polo Association’s regional tournament for the second time in the team’s history. The girls will play Ann Arbor Pioneer at 7:45 p.m. Friday, May 18 at Ann Arbor Huron High School for their bid to qualify for MWPA’s state championship tournament for the first time.

The HOTEL girls have faced an uphill battle this year as their long-time coach, Ronald Marsh, has been ill since the beginning of the season. Nineteen-year-old Madelyn Zink, an MSU sophomore and an ELHS alumna, has been coaching the twelve-member team in his absence.

The girls would like to thank Coach Marsh. They would be nowhere near the team they are without him, and while he cannot be with them right now, he has been behind the scenes cheering these girls on,” Zink said.

The HOTEL team’s record this season is 22 wins and 11 losses. “This year has been the year of defense,” Zink said. “When I asked the girls what they thought they had done well, defense was the common answer. Lilly Zink (Madelyn’s younger sister) is a senior this year and she is our hole defender and we believe that she is one of the best hole defenders in the area, maybe even the state. We have never yet to come across a hole set she cannot shut down and we are so grateful to have her. We also have a fast team, and a fast defense, and we pride ourselves on that side of the pool.” The “hole defender/hole set” in water polo is similar to the forward center on a basketball team

Zink said the team has faced many challenges this year, but has made the most of them. “Our challenges this year are things that all teams face--our mental state, being in a situation that is obviously less than ideal with not having an established coach. But with this team it is easy. If you believe in them, they will believe in themselves, and I 100 percent believe in them.”

Zink cited a 3-4 loss against Lake Orion early in the season as an example of the team’s grit. “We took a hard loss to Lake Orion at the Mason Tournament, and then had to turn around and play our district game against them three days later. I said one small line to the girls before the game and since they have repeated it before almost every game. I told them ‘If you can do this, you can do anything.’”

HOTEL has beaten Ann Arbor Pioneer once this season, and lost to them twice. If the team beats Pioneer on Friday, they will continue on to the next day at the regional tournament, and then proceed to the MWPA State Championship tournament the first weekend in June.

“We are going in with a positive mindset, and knowing that we have made it this far and that there is nothing standing in our way of qualifying for states,” Zink said.

 

[Disclosure: Telaina Eriksen’s son Matthew Eriksen, helps coach the goalkeepers and assists Zink as needed for the 2018 girls’ HOTEL team.]

 

 

 

 

 

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