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24th Malta Open Championships
Slow Motion Video
The Calumet College of St. Joseph men cashed in big in Las Vegas, winning both events, and the women’s titles went to Pikeville and Wichita State.
The photo shows the Lady Shockers. Courtesy of Shocker Bowling.
At the Las Vegas Invitational, all teams bowled nine traditional team games. The field was then cut to the top 16 men’s teams and top eight women’s teams for a best of three-of-five, Baker, single elimination bracket match play.
Slow and steady was the motto for the Lady Shockers, as they rolled steady games hovering around 1000 each game. The ladies averaged 996 over nine games to claim the number one seed for the Baker match play bracket. In round one, the ladies were eliminated by Marian University, 1-3 (225-224, 196-203, 190-204, 198-224).
“We’ve really been working on attacking the lane conditions and maximize the score every game. We really did that well in Las Vegas,” junior Laura Plazas (Bogotá, Colombia) said.
“We worked together and communicated well the entire tournament. Although we lost our match, it was one of the best matches we’ve had as a team. We put a lot of really good shots on line and made our spares. There is definitely room for improvement, but it was nice to see four quality games put together.”
On the other end of the center, the men finished qualifying strong to earn the number two seed for the Baker bracket. In their first match, the Shocker men bowled University of Nebraska – Lincoln and quickly advanced, winning 3-0 (224-199, 217-206, 202-187).
After another quick match with Marian University, a 3-1 win (246-265, 255-201, 220-183, 233-169), the Shocks found themselves in the semi-finals with Calumet College. They struggled to find any momentum and fell 0-3 (180-200, 152-191, 158-222).
“We played really well almost the entire tournament. Everyone gave some input throughout both days and everyone was right at some point. It was great teamwork,” senior Stephen Cowland (Blackbutt, Australia).
There were a number of great individual performances by the Shockers. Senior AJ Chapman (Manchester, Iowa) was second and named to the All-Tournament team, averaging 227 over nine games. Freshman Wesley Low (Palmdale, Calif.) just missed the All-Tournament team, finishing sixth with an average of 218 over the nine games.
Senior Dasha Kovalova (Moscow, Russia) led the way for the Lady Shox, earning a spot on the All-Tournament team finishing second, with a 208 nine game average. Sophomore Hollyann Johansen (Wichita, Kan.) joined her on the All-Tournament, averaging 203 in fifth place. Right behind them, just missing the All-Tournament team was Sydney Brummett (Fort Wayne, Ind.) who averaged 202 and finished tied for sixth.
In one of the most dominant performances in the last few years, the Lady Shox ran away with the Collegiate Shoot-Out title for the sixth year in a row. They began the tournament with a record setting first set, shooting games of 1134, 1220 and 1173 for a 3527 series. Although not the highest set ever, it is certainly near the top.
The ladies continued their dominance through the rest of the team games and the Baker games, never losing one game in the unique Barnhart format, where every game is a match. 1,095 was the final margin of victory, the biggest victory in quite some time.
“On the first day, everyone saw the right shape in practice and everyone was lined up. From that point forward, we were all watching shots and working together really well,” said assistant coach Mark Lewis.
“It was fun to watch the ladies see it early and continue to watch the lane change. Both days they did a great job of seeing what the lane wanted and doing that. It’s what we strive for every time we are on the lanes.”
Individually, the city of Wichita owned the All-Tournament team as Wichita State took four of the five spots, with the other going to Kelly Machacek of Newman. Kovalova led the entire tournament with an impressive 234 average over nine games. Junior Kristie López (Ponce, Puerto Rico) was third averaging 229. Brummett and Plazas followed in fourth and fifth, averaging 228.
“We haven’t had four ladies on an All-Tournament team in quite some time. It was definitely a great weekend, but there is more room for these ladies to grow,” Lewis added.
Not to be left out, the Shocker men almost matched the ladies, winning every game but one en route to a second place finish. Wichita State averaged 1050 during the team games and were in the middle of the pack. In game four, the Shocker men had a huge tenth frame to ensure the bonus pins, throwing 11 strikes in the 15 shots.
Day two was really the game changer, as the men went undefeated and averaged 220 during the Baker games. Before the final Baker set, the men found themselves in fourth place. They rattled off a 922 set with games of 234, 225, 244 and 219 to jump into second place.
“Bowling well in the Baker games has been the trend over the last few seasons,” junior Justin Zwaschka (St. Joe, Mo.) said. “Communication is definitely one of our strengths we communicate really well during the Baker games. It’s something we will continue to strengthen during the team games as the season progresses.”
Low had a great tournament, finishing 13th with a 222 average. Zwaschka also had a great individual performance, averaging 227 over five games.
This marked the end of the first semester for the Shocker Bowling team. Second semester begins with the ISBPA/Kegel Midwest Collegiate Classic, January 16-17, 2017 is Addison, Ill.
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