Somerset, NJ - The Northeast Conference (NEC) named Bryant's Kundayi Mawema (Harare, Zimbabwe/Dominican Convent) the recipient of its Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Student Athlete of the Year award. The field hockey goaltender became the eighth student-athlete in league history to earn the honor, which recognizes individual excellence in both the academic and athletic realms as well as contributions to one’s community.
The NEC honor comes two months after the Rhode Island Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (RIAIAW) deemed Mawema its Distinguished Athlete of the Year.
“Kundayi has a powerful presence on the field and is well respected by teammates and opponents alike,” said Bryant’s head field hockey coach Shaunessy Saucier. “Her sound skills coupled with her incredible leadership qualities and commanding presence are incredible assets to our team.”
Mawema’s “sound skills” yielded one of the top statistical campaigns amongst NCAA Division I goalies in 2009. Bryant’s team captain, who doubled as a Dean’s List student, accounted for a .795 save percentage that ranked eighth amongst NCAA national leaders.
In what was Bryant’s first season of competition as a NEC member, Mawema earned all-conference second team honors. She was the goalie of record for all seven of the Bulldogs’ wins and tallied four shutouts. Mawema posted a 1.85 goals-against average as a senior, including a 1.25 mark against NEC opponents. She will graduate as Bryant’s all-time leader in saves per game (.746), while ranking second in career victories (31).
The field was only one of the numerous platforms Mawema used to display her aptitude as a leader. Well-respected on campus, Mawema earned the endorsement of Bryant’s Faculty and was selected to the University’s Senior Advisory Council. She served on Bryant’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee as both Co-Chair and Secretary. Through her work as a two-year SAAC member, she became the face of Bryant Athletics on a regional and national level. Mawema represented Bryant at the annual NEC meetings as well as the NCAA National Leadership Conference.
Mawema spearheaded a number of service initiatives, including a Campus Cleaning Day, Canned Food Drive, and a charity basketball tournament that raised money for the Cancer Recovery Foundation. Mentoring children in the local community, Mawema participated in a “Kids Day Out” and the “Celebrity Readers Program.”
Remaining committed to her studies, Mawema posted a 3.34 grade-point average and made her way onto to the Dean’s List this past fall semester. Her GPA stood in excess of the 3.0 mark at the conclusion of every semester since Fall 2008.
Weighing one’s leadership ability, athletic prowess, academic achievement, and community service, the Northeast Conference SAAC members select the annual recipient of the award. The NEC began honoring a SAAC Student Athlete of the Year in 2003 when Central Connecticut State’s Sabrina Mariani claimed the inaugural award.
Northeast Conference SAAC Student-Athlete of the Year Award Winners
2009-10 Kundayi Mawema Bryant
2008-09 Alexandra Tomlinson Wagner
2007-08 Tiffany Hahn Monmouth
2006-07 Erika Jacobs Saint Francis (PA)
2005-06 Joy Gallagher Wagner
2004-05 Beth Swink Saint Francis (PA)
2003-04 Naomi Campano Mount St. Mary’s
2002-03 Sabrina Mariani CCSU