Bucknell Women's Water Polo Opens Southern Championships with 13-4 Win Over George Washington
April 19, 2008
LEWISBURG, Pa. - The No. 20 Bucknell women's water polo team advanced to the championship game of the Southern Championships with an easy 13-4 victory over George Washington Saturday morning at Kinney Natatorium. The win guarantees a top-two finish in the event for the Bison, which means they have earned an automatic berth to next week's Eastern Championship.
Bucknell (25-7) will play the winner of Saturday morning's other first-round game, which pits second-seeded Princeton and third-seeded Maryland, in the championship game Saturday at 6 p.m. The Bison have never won the Southern Championships, but by virtue of advancing to the title contest, they are guaranteed of at least equaling their best-ever showing at the event, which was second place in 2005.
Bucknell jumped out to a 6-0 lead with smothering defense in the first 10 minutes of play. The Bison totaled a season high-tying 22 steals in the contest as every player on the roster had at least one. Haley Prickett (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona del Mar) led the way with four in addition to her two goals and one assist.
Goalies Alison Carter (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor) and Rachel McGillis (Los Altos, Calif./Los Altos) solidified the back of the defense with a combined 12 saves. Carter played the first half and made five stops, while McGillis had seven saves in her 16 minutes of playing time. Five of those saves for McGillis came in the fourth quarter.
Bucknell had four players net at least two goals, but junior Aubrey Rowe (Carlisle, Pa./Cumberland Valley) led the way with three goals and added one assist. Meagan Gins (Albuquerque, N.M./Valley) totaled a team-high five points on two goals and three assists.
Kandis Canonica (Burlingame, Calif./St. Ignatius Prep) rounded out the list of Bison with at least two goals as she accumulated a pair of scores and one assist to vault her season point total to 102. She is now just one point shy of the Bison single-season record held by Gins, and her team-high 56 assists are two short of equaling that standard.
After Bucknell went up 6-0, it managed one goal over the next eight minutes of play as the Colonials narrowed their deficit to 7-3 early in the third quarter. However, the Bison played a crisp final seven minutes of the stanza to seal the outcome of the game. They registered five consecutive goals, many of which were scored in transition.
The Bison were successful throughout the game in six-on-five situations. Five of their 13 goals came with a man-advantage and they were 5-for-8 overall with one penalty shot as well.
With another game just eight hours away, Bucknell interim head coach John Abdou substituted liberally. Thus, the bench production was solid. Kristin Vallis (Ridgefield, Conn./Phillips Exeter Academy), Meghan McNally (Floral Park, N.Y./Sacred Heart Academy), Prickett, Whitney Allen (Hillsborough, Calif./Menlo) and Flavia McBride (Irvine, Calif./University) combined for three goals, three assists, 10 steals and eight of the team's nine ejections drawn. Allen equaled Valentina Rozas (Pico Rivera, Calif./El Rancho) for the most by a Bison player this year with a season-high six ejections drawn. She now has a team-high 73 this year.
George Washington (7-19), which has lost three games this year to Bucknell by a combined 26 goals, will play in Saturday's consolation game at 4:30 p.m. against the loser of the Princeton-Maryland contest. The Colonials had four different players score their goals.
Bucknell will go for its first Southern Championships title Saturday at 6 p.m. inside Kinney Natatorium.
GEORGE WASHINGTON 0 2 1 1 -4
Goals: Rowe (3), Gins (2), Canonica (2), Prickett (2), Palencia, Swoyer, Vallis, Rozas.