The Huntington University women’s bowling team received one of three at-large bids to the inaugural NAIA Bowling Championships where they out-bowled their seeding. Ranked ninth heading into the championship tournament, Coach Mike Shockey’s squad finished in the top six out of the 10-team field.
Day one of the tourney featured 24 qualifying Baker games. Teams were then seeded into a double elimination match play for the national championship. The Foresters were consistent during qualifying, totaling 4,434 pins (184.75/game average) to claim the No. 7 seeding heading into match play.
“We were given the lane oil pattern Wednesday night and put together a plan of attack for Thursday,” noted Shockey. “The ladies bowled pretty well for most of qualifying, but the lanes played a little differently than we anticipated.
“We really wanted to get into the top six and earn a first round bye for Friday, but fell a little short with one bad four-game Baker set. We made some adjustments going into Friday for match play and the ladies came out firing on all cylinders.”
Huntington swept No. 10 Martin Methodist 3-0 and then picked off second-seeded Saint Francis (IL) in three games as well. The next match found the Foresters bowling against eventual runner-up Midland University. Despite keeping it close, HU lost 3-1 to drop into the consolation bracket where they went up against Baker University in an elimination game.
The clash stretched to five games with the Wildcats outlasting HU by a single pin, 180-179, in the rubber match.
“Both matches we lost were close,” said Shockey. “A couple breaks either way would have made a big difference in the outcome. I am so incredibly proud of this team.
“They executed shots well and we made teams beat us. We certainly didn’t give away matches. While we wanted to go deeper into the tourney, we’re going to use this experience to prepare for the (United States Bowling Congress) USBC sectionals and hopefully make a run at the ITC tournament in a few weeks.”
USBC sectionals is set for April 16 through 18.