By Anthony Covino
The No.7 nationally ranked FDU women’s bowling team defeated Sacred Heart 2-1 in the NEC championship match on Sunday, March 21 at Hamilton Lanes in Hamilton, N.J., to secure the 2021 conference title and advance to the NCAA Tournament.
The Knights won their fifth NEC championship and go to the NCAA Tournament for a 13th time after winning national championships in 2006 and 2010.
“I’m very proud of this team,” FDU head coach Mike LoPresti said. “We pulled out the traditional game with a tremendous tenth frame rally and never stopped battling in the best-of-seven Baker match, shooting a clutch 236 game for the win in game seven. We grew a great deal as a team today. Nothing’s more valuable than hard-earned team victories.” (Quote from FDUKNIGHTS.com)
LoPresti, who has been the head coach since 2002, earned NEC Coach of the Year for the third time in his career at FDU. He previously won in 2012 and 2013.
Senior Jenna Henderson was named the NEC Bowler of the Year and was named first team All-NEC along with fellow senior Amanda Chrzanowski. Sophomore Cameron Spring was named second-team All-NEC with freshman Julianna Spina named to the NEC All-Rookie Team.
In this competition, the Mega Match consists of a traditional match where five bowlers from each team bowl a full game with a winner decided on total pinfall. The first Baker match is one game between five bowlers where the winner is decided on total pinfall over five games. The third match was a best-of-seven game Baker where the winner was decided on wins and losses.
Against SHU, the No. 7-ranked Knights (35-3, 19-2 NEC) won the first traditional match 978-977 on total pinfall as Spring bowled a 234 in the opener. Senior Aimee Sherman bowled her third 200-plus traditional match of the tourney with a 228. Sherman started off the tournament weekend by bowling 11 strikes in a row. She then knocked down nine pins on her final bowl for a 299 score.
FDU dropped the second match in Baker format 1,084-1,053 on total pinfall. SHU tied the Mega Match at 1-1.
FDU then won the third and final match, a best-of-seven Baker game. FDU won the series, 4-3. This gave them the MegaMatch win, 2-1, for the 2021 NEC Championship and a ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
The 2021 NCAA Bowling Championship begins with regional play on April 7 in Kansas City.
FDU will learn about its first-round matchup and overall tournament seed on March 31 when the NCAA Selection Show airs live on NCAA.com with details to be announced in the coming days.
Last year, before the coronavirus pandemic hit and cancelled the 2020 NEC Bowling Championship, FDU Bowling finished the season on a 10-game winning streak with a 66-38 record and a 9-9 record in the NEC going into the NEC Championships. But the Knights never got to test their title skills as all NCAA sports competitions were cancelled due to the pandemic.
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Photo courtesy of FDUKnights.com