From SFA Athletics
The SFA bowling team is just one victory away from bowling for a second national title after claiming a pair of thrilling 2-1 wins Thursday at the 2019 NCAA Women's Bowling Championship inside RollHouse Wickliffe in Wickliffe, Ohio. The Ladyjacks are one of just two remaining unbeaten teams in the eight-team double-elimination national championship field after taking down fourth-ranked Sam Houston State and knocking off second-ranked McKendree in best-of-three mega matches.
With its first and second round triumphs, SFA advances to the semifinals of the NCAA Championship where the Ladyjacks will continue their quest for the school's second team national championship Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. CST.
Facing the Southland Bowling League champion Bearkats in the first round of the NCAA Championship Thursday morning, SFA jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the mega match after recording its highest traditional team match pinfall of the season. The Ladyjacks claimed 1,152 total pins in the traditional team match as every SFA bowler notched a 200-pin game. Led by senior Dakotah Hazlewood's career-high game of 277, the Ladyjacks benefited from freshman Carlene Beyer's 233, junior Megan Eaglehouse's 224, senior Paige Beeney's 215 and sophomore Sarah Gill's 203.
After Sam Houston State tallied 1,047 pins in the traditional team match loss, the Bearkats rolled a score of 1,072 in the Baker total pinfall match to tie up the mega match at 1-1. SFA won three of the five games in the Baker total pinfall match and knocked down 1,011 pins but a 13-pin game four setback and a 75-pin game five defeat evened things up.
In their first decisive best-of-seven Baker match of the day, the Ladyjacks rebounded from a 237-227 opening game loss by rattling off four-straight game wins to clinch the best-of-seven Baker match, 4-1. Taking game two by a count of 193-188, the SFA won game three 191-170, game four 190-163 and game five 194-179 to advance to the second round of the 2019 NCAA Bowling Championship.
Facing No. 2 seed McKendree Thursday afternoon, the Ladyjacks did not have nearly the same start as they did in the morning. SFA earned 995 pins, compared to McKendree's 1,102, after Beyer turned in a game of 246 and Beeney a 197. Beginning their comeback against the nation's second-best team, the Ladyjacks scored a 1,086 in the Baker total pinfall match and topped the Bearcats (1,000) by 86 pins. Bowling four consecutive 200-pin games in the Baker total pinfall, SFA out-performed McKendree in the opening four games and built a 108-pin lead that it would not relinquish.
Forcing the decisive best-of-seven Baker match, the Ladyjacks found themselves holding a 2-0 lead after 166-163 and 221-201 game one and two victories. However, the Bearcats would end up claiming games three (183-166), four (204-185) and five (201-198) to take a 3-2 advantage. Trailing in game six, SFA staged an improbable comeback as Beeney and Hazlewood dealt strikes in the final frames to secure the game at 204-178 and force a deciding game seven. The Ladyjacks started off the final game of the day strong with back-to-back strikes from Beyer and sophomore Dakota Faichnie, before holding on for a two-pin 188-186 triumph to clinch the Baker best-of-seven match 4-3 and mega match 2-1 to advance to the national semifinals.
Each round of the 2019 NCAA Women's Bowling Championship consists of a best-of-three mega match that includes the use of three team game formats - Baker total pinfall, five-person traditional team and a best-of-seven Baker match. The national champion will be determined using a best-of-seven Baker match. The championship final will air at 5:30 p.m. CST, Saturday, April 13 on ESPNU.
The 2019 NCAA Bowling Championship field is comprised of 12 teams with eight schools rewarded automatic qualification through conference championships. SFA, who is ranked sixth nationally in both NCAA RPI and the latest National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA) top 25 poll, was one of four NCAA national title contenders who received an at-large selection. Ranked No. 1 in the NCAA's RPI rankings, Vanderbilt joined second-ranked McKendree, fourth-ranked Sam Houston State and third-ranked Nebraska as the four teams placed in the championship bracket in Ohio. The remaining eight teams competed in opening round matches April 5-7. Opening round teams and matchups were determined by the NCAA women's bowling committee based on selection criteria and geography.
The Ladyjacks will face the winner of eighth-ranked Maryland-Eastern Shore and 23rd-ranked Sacred Heart Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. CST on lanes 37 and 38 inside RollHouse Wickliffe in Ohio. Maryland-Eastern Shore was defeated 2-0 by second-ranked McKendree in the first round but eliminated fourth-ranked Sam Houston State in the opening round of the elimination bracket. Sacred Heart upset top-seeded Vanderbilt 2-1 in the first round before falling 2-0 to third-ranked Nebraska in round two.
Friday afternoon's 2019 NCAA Bowling Championship semifinal mega match can be streamed live via NCAA.com, while the NCAA Championship's program can be found here.
Stay tuned to SFAJacks.com, as well as SFA’s social media platforms, for complete coverage of Ladyjack bowling throughout the spring.
NCAA Bowling Championship First Round vs. No. 4 Sam Houston State | W, 2-1
Traditional Team Match | W, 1,152-1,047
Carlene Beyer 233, Megan Eaglehouse 224, Sarah Gill 203, Paige Beeney 215, Dakotah Hazlewood 277
Baker Match | L, 1,072-1,011
W, 203-197; W, 235-224; W, 180-170; L, 258-245; L, 223-148
Best 4-of-7 Baker Match | W, 4-1
L, 237-227; W, 193-188; W, 191-170; W, 190-163; W, 194-179
NCAA Bowling Championship Second Round vs. No. 2 McKendree | W, 2-1
Traditional Team Match | L, 1,102-995
Carlene Beyer 246, Megan Eaglehouse 166, Sarah Gill 192, Paige Beeney 197, Dakotah Hazlewood 194
Baker Match | W, 1,086-1,000
W, 215-193; W, 214-204; W, 242-203; W, 237-200; L, 200-179
Best 4-of-7 Baker Match | W, 4-3