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UMES: 2014 MEAC bowling champions (again)

  • Monday, March 24, 2014

     2014 MEAC bowling champions

    CHESAPEAKE, Va. - (March 24, 2014) - UMES brought home its second straight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference bowling crown this past weekend in a marathon duel with Florida A&M that required 14 games rolled over six hours.

    The third-ranked Lady Hawks now await word from the NCAA later this week about whether they will be invited to its national tournament. UMES already qualified to defend its 2013 U.S. Bowling Congress championship later this spring.

    UMES' protracted win over Florida A&M pushed both squads to the physical limits of competition often seen in a double-elimination format.

    FAMU, which came into championship Sunday with one loss in the tournament, earned a spot in the finals against the undefeated and top-seeded Hawks by besting North Carolina A&T in a semi-final elimination match early Sunday. The Rattlers then turned around and defeated UMES 4-3 in the first match, forcing a second best-of-seven Baker game match.

    (The Baker format pits five bowlers from each team in a single game where each participant rolls two frames.)

    The championship match went to the Lady Hawks, who staged a dramatic come-from-behind performance that saw them win the final two games to edge FAMU 4-to-3.

    "We stayed positive and kept fighting until the very last shot," junior Mariana Alvarado said..  "We overcame a lot of adversity today and we are happy with the end result."

    Alvarado was named the MEAC Championship Most Outstanding Player and an All-Tournament Team selection.  Megan Buja, the team's lone senior, was also named to the All-Tournament Team.

    "It's amazing to have won three MEAC Championships in my career," Buja said.  "Today was a roller coaster but we stuck together and never gave up.  This just shows how determined we were to win."

    Head Coach Kayla Bandy was named the MEAC Championship's Most Outstanding Coach.

    "It feels good to win my first MEAC Championship with these eight girls," Bandy said.  "They have worked so hard preparing for this tournament, even though it showed more so on Friday and Saturday. They still were able to grind through the adversity today."

    The win gives UMES its seventh conference title in women's bowling.

    The match was taped for a delayed broadcast on ESPNU on March 31 at 10:30 p.m.

    Bandy utilized numerous line-up changes throughout the day and UMES bowlers changed balls several times.  At one point Buja was bowling anchor, junior Valerie Riggin was leading off and Alvarado was anywhere between second and fourth.

    "I tried to arrange the lineup based on who was in the pocket the most," Bandy said. "We used the 10th frame on several occasions to start preparing for the next game.  The lanes were tough for us today but we worked through it slowly, physically and mentally."