By Scott Padula
The women’s water polo team finished the regular season at 11-16 after winning one and losing two this past weekend. In the final game of the regular season, the Bison could not steal a victory from Hartwick on Senior Day, falling to the Hawks 14-9. The Bison split decisions on Saturday, bouncing back in the nightcap to defeat Gannon 26-6 after losing to Mercyhurst 13-10 in the early game.
On Sunday in the final game of the weekend, the Orange and Blue fell to No. 12 Hartwick. Before the game, Kandis Canonica ’11, Haley Prickett ’11 and Meghan McNally ’11 were honored in a Senior Day recognition ceremony. The Hawks started the game strong, opening up a 3-1 first-quarter advantage. The Bison mounted a comeback and took their only lead in the second quarter. Hartwick responded with five quick goals of their own to take an 8-4 lead into halftime. The Bison could not overcome the four goal deficit in the second half and fell 14-9. Seniors Canonica and Prickett combined for four goals and three assists in their final regular season game as Bison. Hallie Kennan’12 led the team in scoring with three goals of her own.
In Saturday’s nightcap, the Orange and Blue dominated Gannon on the offensive end to take a 26-6 victory. Seniors Canonica and Prickett led the Bison charge, scoring five goals each. Canonica also tallied five assists in the game. Canonica’s total of 10 points tied the Bison single-game record originally set by Julie McLaughlin in 2001 and matched by Aubrey Rowe in 2006. The Orange and Blue also received a strong showing in goal from Rena Heim ‘14 who posted a career-high 12 saves in the victory. As a team the Bison set several program records. Eight different Bison registered multiple goals, breaking the old record of seven. The Bison also set records in goals and assists in a single game with 26 and 24, respectively.
In the first game of the weekend, Mercyhurst jumped out to an early lead, scoring four goals in both the first and second quarters. The Orange and Blue could only post two goals in each quarter as Mercyhurst took an 8-4 lead into the half. The Bison could not overcome the deficit as they fell to the Lakers 13-10. Kennan led the Bison in points with three goals and two assists. Canonica and seven other Bison found the back of the net in the loss. On the defensive end, the Orange and Blue racked up 15 steals, while McNally and Tara Murao ’13 tallied the only field blocks.
“I think this weekend was a change of identity for our team,” Prickett said. “After the first loss on Saturday, we felt terrible. We had just lost to a team worse than us simply because they were inspired and we were not. That loss motivated us to have a strong performance and rebound against Gannon. I think we came out and did just that.”
This weekend the Orange and Blue will prepare for the Eastern Championship, which will take place next weekend at Indiana. The Bison finished fifth at last year’s Eastern Championship, the best showing in program history.