Bucknell Announces 2008 Team Honors; Rowe Named Team Captain

John Abdou
John Abdou

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Eight members of the Bucknell women’s water polo team were recently honored when interim head coach John Abdou announced the winners of the program’s annual awards. Additionally, Aubrey Rowe (Jr., Carlisle, Pa./Cumberland Valley) was named the 2009 team captain and earned the Allyson Gillespie Award.

Valentina Rozas (So., Pico Rivera, Calif./El Rancho), Jennifer Swoyer (Sr., Erie, Pa./McDowell), Meagan Gins (Sr., Albuquerque, N.M./Valley), Shana Palencia (So., Glendale, Calif./Hoover), Kandis Canonica (Fr., Burlingame, Calif./St. Ignatius Prep), Haley Prickett (Fr., Newport Beach, Calif./Corona del Mar) and Whitney Allen (Fr., Hillsborough, Calif./Menlo) were the other Bison showered with awards.

Rowe, who was a Second Team All-CWPA Southern Division selection last week, was awarded the Allyson Gillespie Award, which recognizes “demonstrated leadership, loyalty and total dedication to Bucknell water polo.” In previous years, Rowe had been named the team’s Rookie of the Year (2006) and was named the Vicki Gorman Award winner in 2007.

In 2008, Rowe, a junior, broke the program record for steals, recording 84 to eclipse Paige Cull’s seven-year-old record of 80. She piled up a career-high 60 goals and dished out a career-high 34 assists for a career-high 94 points. The goal total was second on the team, while she was third on the squad in both assists and points. Her 94 points rank fourth on the Bison single-season list.

One of four Bucknell players to start every game in 2008, Rowe finished the season in the top five on Bucknell’s career lists for goals (147), steals (169), ejections drawn (107) and sprints won (48).

As the lone captain on the team in 2009, Rowe will be just the third person in program history to be solo in that role. Gins (2008) and Dana Cull (1999) are the other two.

Rozas, the CWPA Southern Division Player of the Year, earned the Vicki Gorman Award, which recognizes “contribution to Bucknell water polo at a level in excess of expectations,” one year after being named the team’s Rookie of the Year.

A First Team All-CWPA Southern Division and a First Team All-Eastern Championship selection, Rozas led the team with a career-high 68 goals this past season to rank second on Bucknell’s single-season list, just two behind Gins’ record of 70 from two years ago.

Rozas piled up the individual awards, earning the CWPA Southern Division Player of the Week honor three times and she was named the Damon’s Bison Athlete of the Week twice. Additionally, she was the ECAC Championship MVP after totaling 11 goals and three assists in leading Bucknell to its first-ever ECAC Championship title.

Overall in 2008, Rozas had 88 points to rank fourth on the team and ninth on the Bison single-season list. She also drew 78 ejections to stand third on that single-season ledger. Twice, she registered a career-high six goals in one game, with one of those outings coming against nationally ranked Indiana.

A starter in 35 of 36 games, Rozas finished her sophomore campaign with career totals of 117 goals, 41 assists and 158 points.

Gins, who embraced a new role as more of a playmaker as a senior captain, earned the Lynn Kachmarik Award, which is presented “for unwavering commitment and a selfless generosity to teammates.” A former recipient of the Rookie of the Year, Vicki Gorman Award and Allyson Gillespie Award, Gins finished second on the team in assists (45) and points (102), while piling up 57 goals to rank third on the squad. She is one of just two players in Bison history to register at least 100 points twice in a career.

A First Team All-CWPA Southern Division selection, Gins broke the Bucknell career record for goals (237), points (351), games played (132) and games started (129) in 2008. Entering this past season, Gins already owned the career marks for ejections drawn (271) and shots (577).

A four-time all-conference selection and the winner of the Bucknell Department of Athletics & Recreation’s Bison Club Award, Gins also piled up 46 steals and drew 64 ejections as a senior.

Swoyer earned the second team award of her career when she was named the recipient of the Class of ’99 Award, which recognizes “the first graduating class whose perseverance and dedication led to the establishment of the program.” Last year, Swoyer earned the Most Improved Award.

Swoyer, this year, for the fourth consecutive season, saw her goal and point totals go up. She went from 14 goals as a freshman to 17 as a sophomore to 19 as a junior and finally posted a career-high 29 this past spring when she was a regular starter for the first time. Her point total went from 18 as a freshman to 27 as a sophomore to 37 as a junior to 46 as a senior.

A starter in all 36 games, Swoyer finished her senior campaign with 52 steals and 18 ejections drawn. She will graduate ninth on both the career ejections drawn list (81) and the games played list (115).

Palencia, one of the two members of the sophomore class on the roster, copped the Most Improved Award. After starting half of her 32 games played and totaling 36 points as a freshman in 2007, Palencia drew 35 starts and piled up 66 points this past spring. Her career-high 42 goals ranked sixth on the team, while her point total was fifth.

A strong defensive player, Palencia recorded 58 steals, 20 more than her rookie total, and she was second on the team with 16 sprints won.

The Rookie of the Year Award was split between three members of the talented six-person freshman class that combined for 133 goals and 103 assists. Canonica, Prickett and Allen shared the honor, marking the first time in program history there have been multiple Rookie of the Year winners.

Canonica, the only freshman to regularly appear in the starting lineup and a Second Team All-CWPA Southern Division choice, shattered Bucknell’s single-season records for both assists (61) and points (112) in her first season in Orange and Blue. The previous assist record was 58, while 103 was the points record entering the 2008 campaign.

Canonica’s most impressive outing came March 1 against Wagner when she broke the Bucknell record for assists in a game with six. Additionally, her nine points that game were the most by a Bison in 2008 and were one shy of equaling the program record of 10 that has stood since 2001.

Despite playing just one season, Canonica already ranks 10th on the Bison career assists list.

Prickett was Bucknell’s top offensive option off the bench, totaling 44 goals and 17 assists despite earning just one start. She posted 11 multiple-goal outings, including five in the season’s first six games. Highlighting that list was a six-goal performance against Siena that matched Rozas for the highest single-game goal total by a Bison in 2008.

Prickett also totaled 58 steals and drew 17 ejections this past season.

Allen was another valuable reserve on a team that had an active roster of just 13 players. She provided 16 goals and seven assists, but her true forte’ was drawing ejections. She led the team with 89 ejections drawn, the second-best figure in program history. That total places her sixth on the Bucknell career list through just one year of her career.

Allen drew a season-high six ejections against George Washington (April 19) and Brown (April 27), equaling Rozas for the most by a Bison in 2008.

Bucknell posted a record-setting 26-10 mark in 2008. It was ranked for six weeks during the season, climbing as high as No. 19 nationally, and won the ECAC Championship for the first time in program history. The Bison also equaled their best finish at the Southern Championships (2nd) and posted their second-best showing at the Eastern Championship (6th).

Bucknell Team Records Set in 2008
Wins: 26 (old record: 23)
Winning Percentage: .722 (old record: .719)
Points: 648 (old record: 538)
Goals: 389 (old record: 313)
Assists: 259 (old record: 222)
Steals: 433 (old record: 433)
Ejections Drawn: 364 (old record: 234)
Shots: 937 (old record: 805)
Saves: 341 (old record: 307)

2008 Bucknell Women’s Water Polo Team Awards
Allyson Gillespie Award
– Aubrey Rowe
Vicki Gorman Award – Valentina Rozas
Class of ’99 Award – Jennifer Swoyer
Lynn Kachmarik Award – Meagan Gins
Most Improved – Shana Palencia
Rookie of the Year – Whitney Allen, Kandis Canonica, Haley Prickett

2009 Team Captain – Aubrey Rowe

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