After a rough first half of the women’s collegiate bowling season, the Hawks of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) dropped in the national rankings to ninth place.
Head Coach Kayla Bandy knew her team was better than that and after some solid work on the lanes, team bonding and a renewed focus on the roster, the team showed today that they are a lot better than ninth. UMES topped No. 1 Nebraska and No. 3 and host Arkansas State today to claim the championship at the 2015 Mid-Winter Invitational, an event featuring eight of the top nine teams in the country.
UMES took the opening day of the event on Friday to figure out the lanes, posting a 3-2 record and finishing in fourth place. Day two, other than an uncharacteristic loss to McKendree, saw the Hawks post four solid wins and climbed all the way up to second in the standings, including tossing the highest game of the event.
UMES opened the day facing off against the nation’s No. 1 team, Nebraska. The Huskers led the first two days wire to wire and were over 400 pins ahead of the Hawks, but that certainly didn’t faze UMES. After a rough game one, where the Hawks seemed out-matched, 204-145, the team regrouped and rolled from there.
In the best four-of-seven Baker format match, UMES got their four wins quickly, posting wins of 184-182, 240-192, 171-169 and 269-181. That win was a statement for the Hawks, who hadn’t seen the top team all season head-to-head, but proved that they are certainly on par with the Huskers. The Hawks flirted with some very high numbers, having the first five strikes in game three and throwing 10 of 12 strikes in game five, including the last nine.
The win also earned UMES a bye straight into the finals. In a 15 team field, there wasn’t even a match to bowl for the Hawks. They waited for the winner of the second match between the fourth-seed, No. 3 Arkansas State (ASU), who beat No. 4 Central Missouri 4-3 in their first match and the same Huskers squad they just topped.
Their match was a slugfest, with Nebraska building a 3-0 lead with games of 215, 244 and 196. While it looked like a rematch was brewing, the host Red Wolves stormed back to post games 231, 227, 204 and 219. It would mean the host, Arkansas State, would face UMES for the championship. Again, the Hawks were not fazed as they topped the Red Wolves the day before, posting the tournament high score of an 1135.
ASU was riding some momentum in game one and the Hawks had to get going again, so UMES got down quickly, 193-180. They turned around however to take game two 215-181 and game three 223-181. Up 2-1, ASU tied the match at two apiece with a 185-175 win in game four. UMES took the advantage right back with a 246-141 domination in game six. It appeared all UMES had to do was top 200 and they would win, that they did. They defeated ASU 221-173 in game six to take the match 4-2 and claim their third Mid-Winter Invitational championship in program history.
Freshman Melanie Copey was part of the team’s success again today as she subbed in against Nebraska and started the match against Arkansas State.
Mariana Alvarado and Thashaina Seraus took turns in anchor today with Alvarado anchoring the championship match.
Tatiana Munoz remained in the lineup all day as well and celebrated her birthday in Arkansas with a tournament championship.
Arkansas State took runner-up honors in their own event while top-seed Nebraska settled for third place, defeating Central Missouri who took fourth. Stephen F. Austin, Vanderbilt, McKendree, UAB, Wisconsin-Whitewater and Sam Houston State rounded out the top-ten finishers. Tulane, Valparaiso, Louisiana Tech, Jackson State and Alabama State rounded out the final five teams.
UMES celebrates their third event title, having won the event in 2010 and 2008, taking fourth in 2011 and 2009 and fifth in 2012.
Courtesy of UMES Sports Information