BEMIDJI, Minn. - Bemidji State University women's hockey goaltender Brittni Mowat and defenseman Matt Prapavessis, of the men's hockey team were named 2014-15 Female and Male Student-Athletes of the Year as a part of the Beaver Nation Celebration athletic appreciation banquet Thursday at the BSU Gymnasium. The duo of All-WCHA players was selected from a pool of nominated student-athletes from the university’s 15 intercollegiate sport programs.
In addition, Sierra Senske of the women’s basketball team team team and men’s hockey standout Michael Bitzer were selected BSU’s 2014-15 Female and Male Newcomers of the Year, while Rachel Craig, Alayna Krejci and Emily Turner, as well as Brendan Harms, Reid Mimmack and Shane White picked up Female and Male Scholar Athlete of the Year honors.
In all, nearly 60 seniors were recognized in addition to public recognition of BSU’s top academic teams, it’s soccer and men’s hockey programs, BSU’s three NSIC/Myles Brand Academic with Distinction Award winners, Its Butch Raymond Scholarship recipient and Volunteer of the Year Jerry Phillips, with the presentation of the student-athletes and newcomers of the year, serving as the culminating event of the program.
Brittni Mowat – Women’s Hockey (Sophomore, goaltender, Glenboro, Manitoba)
Brittni Mowat, is the first BSU women’s hockey player to earn First-Team CCM American Hockey Coaches Association All-American honors, while being voted Second-Team All-American by USCHO.com. She was instrumental in the Beavers’ record-breaking 2014-15 campaign posting a 19-13-1 record with an 1.68 goals against average and .945 save percentage. All three marks (wins, goals against average and save percentage) ranked among the top four in the WCHA and top 10 nationally. She set program records this year for: Most wins in a season (19) and most shutouts in a season (7). She also set program records for the highest single season save percentage (.945) and goals against average (1.68).
Matt Prapavessis – Men’s Hockey (Senior, Defense, Oakville, Ontario)
An All-WCHA Second-Team selection as a senior, Matt Prapavessis posted 24 points, which includes a career-high nine goals, during the regular season to become the first BSU defenseman to lead the team in scoring since 1999-2000. The Oakville, Ontario native recorded 18 points (7g-11a) in league play to rank fourth among WCHA blueliners. With 69 blocked shots, Prapavessis ranked second on the team, and 13th in the nation.
With 70 career points in four seasons, Prapavessis ranks 20th on BSU’s all-time defensive scoring list. Prapavessis has never missed a game since stepping on campus in the fall of 2011—dressing in 150 consecutive contests to tie Beaver great Brad Hunt for the program’s record for games played.
Sierra Senske – Women’s Basketball (Freshman, Center, Glyndon, Minn.)
The NSIC’s Freshman of the Year, Sierra Senske was also named to the NSIC’s All-Freshman Team to conclude the 2014-15 season. She led Bemidji State in scoring (14.3 PPG / 10th in the NSIC), rebounding (6.1 RPG / 19th in the NSIC), field goal percentage (47% / 15th in the NSIC) and blocked shots (0.8 BPG / 13th in the NSIC).
Michael Bitzer – Men’s Hockey (Freshman, Goaltender, Moorhead, Minn.)
The WCHA Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie Team Member, Michael Bitzer finished the regular season as the WCHA’s leader with a save percentage of .936, while ranking second in league play with a goals against average of 1.61. In 28 appearances and 1730:06 minutes between the pipes, Bitzer was 14-11-3, made 685 saves on 737 shots faced for a .929 save percentage and an 1.80 goals against average to go with four shutouts. He set a BSU single-season record for freshman with a .929 save percentage and matches a program single-season mark for goals against average (1.80). He is the first BSU goaltender to record at least 14 wins since Dan Bakala posted 14 in 2010-11, the first rookie since BSU moved to the NCAA Division I level prior to the 1999-2000 season and the first BSU goaltender since Matt Climie in 2004-05 to record four shutouts during his freshman season.
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Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs. BSU’s NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey programs are members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.