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Diana Zavjalova breaks through at PWBA Storm Sacramento Open


Since the return of television to the Professional Women’s Bowling Association in 2016, Latvian native Diana Zavjalova had come up just shy of reaching the bright lights, but that sentiment changed on Saturday as Zavjalova broke down the door to earn her first PWBA televised finals appearance at Steve Cook’s Fireside Lanes in Citrus Heights, Calif.

The TV finals of the PWBA Storm Sacramento Open will be taped Tuesday, May 23 during the United States Bowling Congress Queens and is scheduled to air June 13 on CBS Sports Network.

PWBA Storm Sacramento TV finalists from left to right: Liz Johnson, Rocio Restrepo, Diana Zavjalova and Danielle McEwan.

History could’ve repeated itself this week, but a determined Zavjalova defeated Amanda Greene of Romney, West Virginia, 279-236, in the Group B Stepladder Final in an emotional victory.

Joining Zavjalova on television is top seed Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., Colombia native Rocio Restrepo is the second seed and Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., is seeded fourth.

Zavjalova (left), who now resides in Austin, Texas, has run into bad luck on more than one occasion late in PWBA competition, most recently last week at the QubicaAMF PWBA Sonoma County Open. After holding the lead for much of the event, Zavjalova eventually lost in the Group Stepladder Finals to finish fifth.

This week, she again held a lead only to lose it late in match play, but it was a different bowler in the final match thanks to some friendly advice.

“Today, I was just in a different mindset,” Zavjalova said. “I had been putting so much pressure on myself in the past because I kept coming so close. It was very frustrating, and to start off this season the same way was heartbreaking.

Before my match (against Amanda), I was talking to Daria Pajak, and she told me a couple of things that really boosted my confidence. I’m not sure if everyone could see it, but I was smiling and just wanted to bowl happy. Once I started smiling, I felt like that monkey was coming off my back, and that’s what happened.

Johnson, the reigning back-to-back PWBA Player of the Year (right), led the way in Group B with a 5,308 pinfall total, just five pins ahead of Restrepo for the top overall seed. Johnson found success on an unreleased lane condition which forced her to display her versatility.

Although she arguably is the most accomplished player on tour, she still embraces all challenges after many years of competing, and this week would certainly qualify.

“This week required a little more of the C and D game, and that’s why I constantly work on my game,” Johnson said.

“My ball reps had me keeping my shoulders back and square so I wouldn’t come around it, and the little things like that helped all week. I did my best to stay out of trouble, and everything kind of came into place. After all of the years out here, I’m not afraid of anything. I may not be as good on some shots as others, but I know I can do it.”

Restrepo (left), last season’s runner-up for PWBA Player of the Year, earned an automatic TV berth for the second consecutive week after earning the top overall seed at the Sonoma County Open, putting her in position as the early front-runner for PWBA Player of the Year honors in 2017.

The players in the second, third and fourth positions in each group at the conclusion of match play advanced to their respective group stepladders Saturday and battled for the final two spots on the TV show.

The final TV spot went to McEwan (right), who defeated Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, 195-170, in the Group A final. McEwan advanced to the final match after dispatching of Shannon O’Keefe of O’Fallon, Illinois, 224-190.

Prior to facing Zavjalova in the Group B final, Greene defeated Jennifer Higgins of Westerville, Ohio, 216-201, to advance.

Competition at the 2017 PWBA Storm Sacramento Open began Friday with two six-game qualifying blocks to determine to the 32 players for Saturday’s Cashers’ Round. An additional six-game block Saturday morning narrowed the field from the 32 cashers to the top 12 players for round-robin match play.

The 2017 PWBA Tour season continues next week with the PWBA Fountain Valley Open at Fountain Bowl in Fountain Valley, California.

Go to PWBA.com for more information about the PWBA Tour. Qualifying and match-play rounds of PWBA Tour events are broadcast on Xtra Frame, the exclusive online bowling channel for the Professional Bowlers Association.

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PWBA Storm Sacramento Open – Qualifying Standings

Players with position, hometown and 12-game total; top 32 advance (a-amateur, s-senior)

1, Rocio Restrepo, Louisville, Ohio, 2,598. 2, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 2,590. 3, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 2,560. 4, Shannon O’Keefe, O’Fallon, Ill., 2,548. 5, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 2,526. 6, Robyn Renslow, Brentwood, Calif., 2,525

7, Shayna Ng, Singapore, 2,504. 8, Natalie Cortese, Hoffman Estates, Ill., 2,490. 9, Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif., 2,488. 10, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 2,481. 11, (tie) Summer Jasmin, Beckley, W.Va., and Jodi Woessner, Oregon, Ohio, 2,461

13, Maria Jose Rodriguez, Austin, Texas, 2,447. 14, Amanda Greene, Romney, W.Va., 2,445. 15, Sandra Gongora, Mexico, 2,444. 16, Jennifer Higgins, Westerville, Ohio, 2,431. 17, Clara Guerrero, Pflugerville, Texas, 2,419. 18, Amanda Fry, Antelope, Calif., 2,417

19, New Hui Fen, Singapore, 2,408. 20, Daphne Tan, Singapore, 2,391. 21, Stephanie Martins, Brazil, 2,387. 22, Linda Walbaum, Brighton, Colo., 2,381. 23, Liz Kuhlkin, Schenectady, N.Y., 2,376. 24, Daria Pajak, Poland, 2,359

25, Brandi Branka, Fairview Heights, Ill., 2,358. 26, Michelle Duncan (a), Lincoln, Calif., 2,349. 27, Wendy Macpherson, Henderson, Nev., 2,344. 28, Amber Vega, Orangevale, Calif., 2,343. 29, Cassandra Leuthold, Lincoln, Neb., 2,338. 30, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 2,333

31, T’nia Moore, Greensburg, Pa., 2,331. 32, Brittany Smith, Johnston, Iowa, 2,330

Missed Cut:
33, Cherie Tan, Singapore, 2,325. 34, Anggie Ramirez Perea, Austin, Texas, 2,318. 35, (tie) Bryanna Cote, Red Rock, Ariz., and Megan Kelly, Dayton, Ohio, 2,313

37, Brandi Calderon, Tempe, Ariz., 2,311. 38, Marcia Kloempken (a), Pleasant View, Utah, 2,310. 39, Kayla Bandy, Salisbury, Md., 2,296. 40, Tannya Roumimper, Indonesia, 2,285. 41, (tie) Heather Dettrey, Lincoln, Calif., and Jazreel Tan, Singapore, 2,274

43, Samantha Schaden, Baltimore, 2,271. 44, Felicia Wong, Canada, 2,266. 45, Lynda Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 2,257. 46, Sarah Muench, Johnston, Iowa, 2,243. 47, (tie) Tish Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Kristie Leong (a), Daly City, Calif., 2,226

49, Kimberly Power, San Leandro, Calif., 2,217. 50, Roxanna Horton (a), Napa, Calif., 2,211. 51, Ashly Galante, Palm Harbor, Fla., 2,201. 52, Kayla Johnson, Washington, Ill., 2,200. 53, Brittany Himmelreich, Cressona, Pa., 2,168. 54, Mariana Ayala, Euless, Texas, 2,162

55, Danielle Johnson, Fresno, Calif., 2,157. 56, Kaitlyn Commane, Melbourne, 2,156. 57, Kayla Pashina, Minnetonka, Minn., 2,150. 58, Elysia Current, Ephrata, Pa., 2,132. 59, Kaidee Sutphin, Mount Dora, Fla., 2,127. 60, Leanne Hulsenberg, Pleasant View, Utah, 2,120

61, Dena Buxton, Melbourne, 2,113. 62, Gabby Mayfield, Lake Isabella, Calif., 2,111. 63, Paula Vidad, Sun City, Calif., 2,101. 64, Tannya Lopez, Monterrey, Mexico, 2,065. 65, Nichole Hiraoka (a), Daly City, Calif., 2,053. 66, Stephanie Sanders (a), Bakersfield, Calif., 2,017

67, Kristin Romero (a), Lincoln, Calif., 2,011. 68, Jennifer Reven (a), West Sacramento, Calif., 1,986. 69, Adrianna Tadiello (a), Oakley, Calif., 1,980. 70, Amanda Duplan (a), Citrus Heights, Calif., 1,965. 71, Jennifer Dirckx (a), Antioch, Calif., 1,957. 72, Joanne Gonzalez (a), Stockton, Calif., 1,946

73, Stephani Cooksey (a), Reno, Nev., 1,914. 74, Jeanette Adams (a), Sacramento, Calif., 1,902. 75, Melanie McAllister (a), Colorado Springs, Colo., 1,894. 76, Karen Russell, El Dorado Hills, Calif., 1,860. 77, Cyndee Sutherland, San Jose, Calif., 1,843. 78, Jenny Scott (a), Sacramento, Calif., 1,771

79, Jordan Lazaro (a), Sacramento, Calif., 1,594. 80, Jill Creamer, Folsom, Calif., 724 (WD).

PWBA Storm Sacramento Open – Cashers’ Round

Players with position, hometown and 18-game total; top 12 advance to match play

1, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 3,964. 2, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 3,862. 3, Shannon O’Keefe, O’Fallon, Ill., 3,825. 4, Rocio Restrepo, Louisville, Ohio, 3,809. 5, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 3,765. 6, Shayna Ng, Singapore, 3,756

7, Natalie Cortese, Hoffman Estates, Ill., 3,742. 8, Amanda Greene, Romney, W.Va., 3,737. 9, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 3,733. 10, Jennifer Higgins, Westerville, Ohio, 3,729. 11, Maria Jose Rodriguez, Austin, Texas, 3,717. 12, Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif., 3,704.

Missed Cut:
13, Summer Jasmin, Beckley, W. Va., 3,689, $1,200. 14, Robyn Renslow, Brentwood, Calif., 3,676, $1,200. 15, Amanda Fry, Antelope, Calif., 3,652, $1,200. 16, Hui Fen New, Singapore, 3,647, $1,200. 17, Brandi Branka, Fairview Heights, Ill., 3,624, $1,200. 18, Sandra Gongora, Mexico, 3,609, $1,200

19, Clara Guerrero, Pflugerville, Texas, 3,602, $1,200. 20, Daphne Tan, Singapore, 3,588, $1,200. 21, Stephanie Martins, Brazil, 3,573, $1,200. 22, Jodi Woessner, Oregon, Ohio, 3,567, $1,200. 23, Daria Pajak, Poland, 3,566, $1,200. 24, Michelle Duncan (a), Lincoln, Calif., 3,559, $1,200

25, Liz Kuhlkin, Schenectady, N.Y., 3,557, $1,200. 26, Brittany Smith, Johnston, Iowa, 3,529, $1,200. 27, Linda Walbaum, Brighton, Colo., 3,511, $1,200. 28, Tnia Moore, Greensburg, Pa., 3,495, $1,200. 29, Wendy Macpherson, Henderson, Nev., 3,478, $1,200. 30, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 3,472, $1,200

31, Amber Vega, Orangevale, Calif., 3,443, $1,200. 32, Cassandra Leuthold, Lincoln, Neb., 3,378, $1,200

PWBA Storm Sacramento Open – Match Play Results

Players with position, hometown, match play record, 24-game total and average

Group A
1, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 3-3-0, 5,308
(earns No. 1 seed for stepladder based on total pinfall)
2, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 4-2-0, 5,164 (advanced)
3, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 5-1-0, 5,152 (advanced)
4, Shannon O’Keefe, O’Fallon, Ill., 4-2-0, 5,098 (advanced)
5, Maria Jose Rodriguez, Austin, Texas, 1-5-0, 4,986 (eliminated; earns $1,600)
6, Natalie Cortese, Hoffman Estates, Ill., 1-5-0, 4,878 (eliminated; earns $1,600)

Group A Stepladder
Semifinal: McEwan def. O’Keefe, 224-190
(O’Keefe finishes tied for seventh; earns $1,900)
Final: McEwan def. Pluhowsky, 195-170
(McEwan earns No. 4 seed for stepladder based on average; Pluhowsky finishes tied for fifth; earns $2,100)

Group B
1, Rocio Restrepo, Louisville, Ohio, 6-0-0, 5,303
(earns No. 2 seed for stepladder based on total pinfall)
2, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 4-2-0, 5,195 (advanced)
3, (tie) Jennifer Higgins, Westerville, Ohio, 3-3-0, 5,021
and Amanda Greene, Romney, W. Va., 2-4-0, 5,021 (advanced)
5, Shayna Ng, Singapore, 1-5-0, 4,934 (eliminated; earns $1,600)
6, Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif., 2-4-0, 4,924(eliminated; earns $1,600)

Group B Stepladder
Semifinal: Greene def. Higgins, 216-201
(Higgins finishes tied for seventh; earns $1,900)
Final: Zavjalova def. Greene, 279-236
(Zavjalova earns No. 3 seed for stepladder based on average; Greene finishes tied for fifth; earns $2,100)

PWBA Storm Sacramento Open – Televised Stepladder Finals

(Will be taped Tuesday, May 23 during USBC Queens week and will air June 13 on CBS Sports Network.)

First Match: No. 3 Diana Zavjalova vs. No. 4 Danielle McEwan
Second Match: No. 2 Rocio Restrepo vs. Match No. 1 winner
Championship: No. 1 Liz Johnson vs. Match No. 2 winner

Herbert Bickel

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