Bison Athlete of the Week: Hannah Sunday ’16, women’s water polo

Devan Schulte, Senior Writer

Before every water polo match, Hannah Sunday ’16 plugs in her headphones and blasts “Dance All Night” by Free Energy to make sure she is focused. The center is a two-time captain for the Orange and Blue squad and has attained tremendous success in the last three years, yet she still relies on music to calm her nerves before each game. Sunday calmed these nerves before four important matches April 16-17 and propelled the Bison past two ranked opponents with outstanding personal performances.

“It was awesome to finally beat two ranked teams. Almost every game we have played this season against ranked opponents we have lost by a couple of goals. To finally actually win a big game gave us the confidence that we needed,” Sunday said.

The Bison secured victories over No. 18 Harvard and No. 15 Princeton, enabling the team to capture the No. 3 seed in the upcoming CWPA Championship. Sunday performed particularly well in the team’s last match of the weekend, as she scored a season-high five goals to lead the Orange and Blue past the Princeton Tigers 10-9. This win marks the first time the Bison have defeated the Tigers since 2010, and Sunday attributes such success to the team’s patience.

“We played really patient because we knew going in that the teams we were playing wanted to play fast. We used the whole shot clock for most of our possessions which allowed us to make smart decisions,” Sunday said.

Sunday was responsible for many of those smart decisions, as her success in the pool over the weekend boosted her to a team-high 67 goals on the season, tying her for fifth on the program’s single-season list with Taylor Barnett ’16.

Alongside her five goals against Princeton, Sunday also recorded three earlier in the day against Indiana. The Bison now have their most wins since 2010, thanks largely to the leadership of a strong senior class. Sunday also attributes the team’s record to their persistence and resilience.

“My goal for this season was for us to be able to put together a good four quarters. In the past we have not been able to play really well for all four quarters. This year we have really worked on being resilient and not giving up during tough games,” Sunday said.

This determined mindset has prompted the individual success that Sunday has attained throughout her career. The Carlisle, Pa. native currently ranks first on the program’s career ejections drawn list and sixth for career goals in program history. Sunday has also been a two-time First Team All-CWPA Southern Division selection and a member of the CWPA Championship All-Tournament Team, highlighting her pivotal role as a Bison starter since her freshman campaign.

Sunday has grown and developed tremendously as a student-athlete since her first year as a Bison, and she hopes to provide guidance and advice to the underclassmen on her team to help them to do the same. She emphasized that players should be confident, unafraid to make mistakes, and ask questions.

As a young girl, Sunday did the same, asking her three older siblings for advice and guidance after they convinced her to start playing water polo in the fourth grade. Her older brother Josh also wore the Orange and Blue until 2008 as a member of the Bison water polo team. However, Sunday chose the University for reasons other than just that of familial ties.

“I chose to come to Bucknell for the great academics but also for water polo. The team was really close and that was super important to me; when I came on my recruiting trip, it felt like home,” Sunday said.

Although Sunday will have to depart from her home in Lewisburg soon, she hopes to leave the program on a high note, starting April 29 at the CWPA Championship where the Bison will take on No. 6 seed Hartwick.

 

2016 Stats:

67 Goals

5 Assists

116 Ejections Drawn

25 Steals

Position: Center

Hometown: Carlisle, Pa.

High School: Cumberland Valley

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