Bucknell Women's Water Polo Opens Eastern Championship Friday Morning vs. George Washington
April 26, 2012
In the Herd: Eastern Championship Preview
LEWISBURG, Pa. - The weekend of the Eastern Championship has arrived for the Bucknell women's water polo team. The Bison will travel to Providence, R.I., on Thursday and begin competition at the three-day event Friday at 9 a.m. against conference rival George Washington. The 12-team tournament will take place at Brown's Moran Coleman Aquatics Center.
Bucknell is the eighth seed in the field, while George Washington is the No. 9 seed. The winner of their matchup will take on top-seeded and nationally ranked Michigan at 3:40 p.m. on Friday. The winner of that contest moves on to Saturday's semifinals at 7:20 p.m. Sunday's championship game is slated for a 4:30 p.m. start.
Princeton, the winner of the Southern Championships, which was held at Kinney Natatorium two weeks ago, earned the No. 2 seed in the field. CWPA Western Division teams Indiana (No. 3), Maryland (No. 4) and Hartwick (No. 5) round out the top five seeds. Each of those five teams are also nationally ranked as Michigan is No. 10, Indiana is No. 12, Princeton is No. 13, Maryland is No. 14 and Hartwick is No. 17.
Bucknell Women's Water Polo Notebook (14-21, 2-3 CWPA)
Bucknell is 6-8 this year against the Eastern Championship field. The Bison were 4-0 against first-round opponent George Washington.
Thirteenth-seeded Salem International will not be competing at the Eastern Championship. Teams that were scheduled to play them will receive 5-0 forfeit wins. The absence of Salem International will not adjust the weekend schedule.
Bucknell has faced 12 ranked opponents this season.
The winner of this weekend's Eastern Championship earns an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship, which will take place May 11-13 in San Diego, Calif.
Bucknell first-year head coach John McBride spent the previous seven years as head coach at Brown, the site of the Eastern Championship. The Bison will be playing at Brown for the first time since the 2006 Eastern Championship.
It is a tight race between sophomore Julianne Valdes and senior Hallie Kennan for the team lead in points. Valdes has 100 points as she is just the fourth different player in program history to reach that plateau, while Kennan has a career-high 96 points, which ranks ninth on the school's single-season list.
Freshman Taylor Barnett leads the Bison in goals with 63 this year. That figure ranks seventh in Bison single-season history, just 12 behind Aubrey Rowe's standard. Barnett also has a team-high 74 ejections drawn, the No. 5 total in school annals.
Valdes continues to be amazing at winning sprints. The Miami, Fla., native has captured 69 of 84 sprints this season, including 39 of 41 over the last 12 games. She now ranks third on the program's single-season list for sprints won, while her .821 winning percentage is the best in program history.
Bucknell is averaging 12.9 goals per game in its 14 victories and 7.0 goals per game in its 21 losses.
Sophomore goalie Rena Heim has posted 12 double-figure save performances this year and her career-high 261 stops place her fourth on the program's single-season ledger. She now ranks fifth in career saves (384), just six behind fourth-place Kristen D'Agostino.
Bucknell's Weekly Awards in 2012
Bison on Season Record Lists
Bison on Career Record Lists
Bucknell vs. Weekend Opponents
Eastern Championship Schedule
Saturday, April 28
Sunday, April 29