LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Junior Hallie Kennan (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto) netted five goals and freshman Julianne Valdes (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) registered four goals and two assists in her first career game, leading the Bucknell University women’s water polo team to an 11-7 victory over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges Friday evening at Kinney Natatorium in the opening contest of the Bison Invitational. The victory marked the third time in the last four years Bucknell has won its season opener.
The Bison and Athenas were tied 4-4 at halftime, but Bucknell outscored its opponent 7-3 in the second half to give interim head coach Paul Rave his first win at the helm of the Bison.
Bucknell’s defense was strong throughout as the Bison registered 16 steals in the contest, including 10 in the first half. Goalie Brittany Connell (Montebello, Calif./Montebello) led the way with a career-high four in just her third career start. She also added four saves.
The scoring came slow in the first half as the score was just 1-1 following the first period of play. Bucknell shots hit the post on four of its first five possessions, resulting in the slow start in the scoring column.
The teams alternated goals in the second quarter, but the Bison tallied five of the first six scores in the second half to take a commanding 9-5 lead with just under seven minutes to play. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (2-3) cut its deficit to 9-7, but a goal by freshman Mackenzie Ferry (Enola, Pa./Cumberland Valley) with just over two minutes to play sealed the outcome.
Three of Valdes’ four goals came in the first half as she became the first freshman to score four goals in a season opener since Aubrey Rowe reached that figure in the 2006 opener against Siena. Valdes also added four ejections drawn and a steal.
Kennan, who assisted on a Shannon Carroll (Wilton, Conn./Loomis Chaffee) fourth-quarter score, came one shy of her career highs for goals (6) and points (7) as she picked up where she left off last year when she was the team’s leading scorer with 58 goals.
The Bison yielded just five six-on-five situations for the Athenas, who scored on two of those opportunities. Bucknell converted just 3 of 9 man-up chances and missed a five-meter penalty shot.
Release courtesy Bucknell Athletic Communications