08 Dec 2021 | 07:32 | Water Polo
EDISON, N.J.—Junior attacker Amanda Rice (San Jose, Calif.) and freshman Stella Byles (Portland, Ore.) were each recognized with weekly awards from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) on Friday afternoon as the league announced its first set of weekly honors for the spring season. Rice was selected as the Offensive Player of the Week and Byles earned Rookie of the Week accolades. The pair helped Villanova win two of its first three matches last weekend.
Rice totaled seven goals and eight assists over the three matches to lead the Wildcats with 15 points. She contributed three goals and three assists in the season opener when Villanova defeated Saint Francis in a 13-12 thriller. Rice duplicated the three-goal, three-assist effort in a 21-4 victory over Mount St. Mary’s the next day, in addition to recording a goal and two helpers in a match against No. 25 Salem. The third-year player now has career offensive totals of 45 goals, 29 assists and 74 points.
The season opener against Saint Francis came down to a game-winning goal by Byles in her collegiate debut. After the visiting Red Flash rallied from a five-goal deficit to take a 10-9 lead in the fourth quarter, the teams traded scores until Byles snapped a 12-12 tie and notched the game-winner on a power play with just 26 seconds remaining. She had two goals, two steals and a field block in her first collegiate match and went on to post four goals, three assists and seven points for the weekend.
The weekly honors for Rice and Byles are the first for the Wildcats since the 2019 season when Villanova had players recognized three different times during the season. The current pair of accolades comes as the Wildcats are 2-1 for the first time since the 2016 campaign.
Villanova hosts matches this coming weekend against Salem, Gannon and Mount St. Mary’s.