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Team USA defeats Korea to win team gold


2015WWCTeamUSAGoldand300Celebration.jpgTeam USA’s Liz Johnson threw a lot of strikes this week at the 2015 World Bowling Women’s Championships, but none were more meaningful than the 12 she tossed to help lift the United States past Korea for the team gold medal Saturday.

Johnson’s perfect game in front of a packed house at Zayed Sports City’s Khalifa International Bowling Center, and live on BOWL.com’s BowlTV, capped off Team USA’s 1168-1060 win. The meeting was a rematch of the 2013 and 2009 gold-match matches, which Korea won handily.

2015 World Champion in five-player team event, United States:
L-R Shannon O’Keefe, Stefanie Johnson, Danielle McEwan, Shannon Pluhowsky, Kelly Kulick and Liz Johnson.

“This was 100 percent a team effort, and it means a lot that we were able to accomplish what we came here to do,” Johnson said. “We’ve worked hard all year, especially on the short patterns, and we knew we’d have to keep firing strikes to be successful today. We got what we wanted today, and shooting 300 just made it even better.”

Team USA took advantage of Korea’s early struggles to build a 40-pin lead after five frames and cruised to the win help from left-hander Shannon Pluhowsky (238), Shannon O’Keefe (214) and doubles gold medalists Kelly Kulick (214) and Danielle McEwan (202).

Stefanie Johnson didn’t compete in the medal round, but helped Team USA advance during qualifying.

Five of Team USA’s six team members were on-hand to bring the United States the team gold medal in 2011, its first win in the event since 1987, and McEwan was excited to contribute to the victory this year.

“We worked so well together today and kept each other balanced the whole way,” said McEwan, a four-time Team USA member. “This is an absolutely unbelievable feeling and a dream come true. It was a goal of mine just to be on Team USA, and to be able to travel and win, is incredible.”

2015TeamKoreaSilver.jpgJung Dawun led the way for Korea (pictured right with the silver medals) in the loss with a 268 game. She entered the day as the only Korean bowler who didn’t medal earlier in the week, and she threw 20 strikes in 23 opportunities during the team medal round.

Jung was joined by singles gold medalist Jeon Eunhee (212), Son Hyerin (209), Baek Seungja (199) and Kim Jinsun (172). Jung and Baek both were on the winning team at the 2013 tournament in Henderson, Nevada.

The win Saturday was the result of a lot of hard work for Team USA, which began almost immediately after the loss two years ago.

“We spent a lot of time reviewing our strengths and weaknesses after that loss in Las Vegas, and the girls did everything they could to be ready for this team event,” Team USA head coach Rod Ross said. “It was only fitting for us to be able to take on Korea and come away with the win on the short oil pattern.”

2015WWCTeamGermanyBronze.jpg2015WWCTeamSingaporeBronze.jpgThe team final and both semifinal matches were contested on the 36-foot Los Angeles pattern, chosen by the higher seed in each match. Qualifying consisted of six games over two days, with three games on Los Angeles and three on the 43-foot Tokyo pattern.

In the semifinals, Team USA and Korea both led by nearly 40 pins halfway through.

Korea’s Jung opened with 10 strikes, and her 289 set the pace for Korea in a clean 1195-1087 win against Germany (left). Jung was followed by Baek (248), Son (246), Kim (208) and Jeon (204).

McEwan, a World Championships first-timer, struck eight times to lead Team USA past Singapore (above right), 1105-1,026. O’Keefe added a 247 game and was followed by Johnson (218), Kulick (195) and Pluhowsky (193).

2015WWCTeamKarenMarcano300.jpg2015WWCJoanGonzalez.jpgEarlier in the day during qualifying, Venezuela’s Karen Marcano rolled the second perfect game of this year’s World Championships to join her teammate Joan Gonzalez in the record books. Gonzalez shot 300 during doubles Thursday. Johnson’s 300 in the team final was the 14th in tournament history.

Gold, silver and bronze all-events medals were awarded based on 24-game pinfall totals (six games of singles, doubles, trios and team), and the top 24 in the all-events standings have advanced to Masters competition which begins Sunday at 12 a.m. Eastern.

The all-events gold medal came down to the final shot of team event, with Johnson needing three strikes in her last frame after Singapore’s Shayna Ng locked up at least a share of the gold with three strikes of her own. Johnson threw the first two and left a stone 8 pin on her final offering to leave her one pin short.

Ng finished the 24 games with a 5,587 pinfall total, a 232.79 average. Johnson earned the silver medal with a 5,586 total, and Korea’s Jeon claimed the all-events bronze medal with 5,521. The win marked the first World Women’s Championships gold medal for Singapore.

“It has been a great week for Team Singapore, not just for me, because we made the semifinals in every event so far, and to finally get the gold medal after being close many times, is special,” Ng said.

“I knew roughly what the numbers were, but I told myself to take it one shot at a time. I finished first and knew I was guaranteed the gold medal, but I was ready to share it with Liz. She bowled so well, and I really felt for her when that pin didn’t fall.”

Pinfall carries forward, and all 24 remaining players will bowl six additional games Sunday morning to determine the top eight for round-robin match play. After seven games of match play, the field will be narrowed to the top four for Sunday’s medal round.

2015WWCLogo.jpgThe 2015 Women’s World Championships will be held from December 5-14 at Khalifa International Bowling Center in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

147 players from 30 countries will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals in Singles, Doubles, Trios, five-player Teams, All-Events and Masters in the seven-day competition.

In accordance with the WTBA Playing Rules, the 2015 Women’s World Championships will be contested on two lane conditioning pattern, the 36 ft. Los Angeles pattern and the 43 ft. Tokyo pattern.

2014BowlTVLogo_small.jpgBowlingdigitalBanner.gifBowlingdigital.com will provide onsite coverage of the 2015 Women’s World Championships from Khalifa International Bowling Center in Abu Dhabi including reports, photos and results, while bowling fans around the world will be able to watch all qualifying rounds, semifinals and finals live on BowlTV.

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2015 World Champion in five-player team event, United States:
L-R Shannon O’Keefe, Stefanie Johnson, Danielle McEwan, Shannon Pluhowsky, Kelly Kulick and Liz Johnson.

2015 Women’s World Championships – Team Medal Round

Khalifa International Bowling Center in Abu Dhabi, UAE (December 12, 2015)

Championship Round:
1. United States (Shannon Pluhowsky, Stefanie Johnson, Shannon O’Keefe, Kelly Kulick, Danielle McEwan and Liz Johnson), 2273 (2 games)
2. Korea (Jeon Eunhee, Son Hyerin, Hwang Yeonju Kim Jinsun, Jung Dawun and Baek Seungja), 2255 (2 games)
3. Singapore (Cherie Tan, Joey Yeo, Daphne Tan, Shayna Ng, New Hui Fen and Jazreel Tan), 1026 (1 game)
and Germany (Laura Beuthner, Martina Schütz, Patricia Luoto, Nadine Geissler, Birgit Pöppler and Lisa Kabowski), 1087 (1 game)

Playoff Results:
Semi-final Match 1:
No. 1 Korea (Hyerin 246, Eunhee 204, Jinsun 208, Dawun 289, Seungja 248) def.
No. 4 Germany (Beuthner 227, Schütz 191, Luoto 224, Geissler 211, Pöppler 234), 1195-1087
Semi-final Match 2:
No. 2 United States (Pluhowsky 193, O’Keefe 247, Kulick 195, McEwan 252, L. Johnson 218) def.
No. 3 Singapore (C. Tan 181, D. Tan 213, Ng 208, Hui Fen 198, J. Tan 226), 1105-1026
Gold Medal Match:
USA (Pluhowsky 238, O’Keefe 214, Kulick 214, McEwan 202, L. Johnson 300), def.
Korea (Hyerin 209, Eunhee 212, Jinsun 172, Dawun 268, Seungja 199), 1168-1060.

Medalists in All-Events at the 2015 World Championships:
L-R Liz Johnson (2nd), Shayna Ng (1st) and Jeon Eunhee (3rd).

2015 Women’s World Championships – Final Standings in All-Events

Top 3 earn the medals; top 24 advance to the Masters finals; top 24 with 24-game total and average

1. Shayna Ng, Singapore, 5587, 232.79
2. Liz Johnson, United States, 5586, 232.75
3. Jeon Eunhee, Korea, 5521, 230.04

4. Cherie Tan, Singapore, 5466, 227.75
5. Son Hyerin, Korea, 5378, 224.08
6. Danielle McEwan, United States, 5377, 224.04
7. Baek Seungja, Korea, 5337, 222.38
8. Sanna Pasanen, Finland, 5329, 222.04
9. Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 5326, 221.92
10. Jung Dawun, Korea, 5308, 221.17
11. Kelly Kulick, United States, 5305, 221.04
12. New Hui Fen, Singapore, 5302, 220.92
13. Esther Cheah, Malaysia, 5294, 220.58
14. Jenny Wegner, Sweden, 5290, 220.42
15. Nadine Geissler, Germany, 5275, 219.79
16. Hwang Yeonju, Korea, 5256, 219.00
17. Keira Reay, England, 5249, 218.71
18. Laura Beuthner, Germany, 5236, 218.17
19. Rebecka Larsen, Sweden, 5234, 218.08
20. Joline Persson Planefors, Sweden, 5220, 217.50
21. Nina Flack, Sweden, 5217, 217.38
22. Karen Marcano, Venezuela, 5211, 217.12
23. Joey Yeo, Singapore, 5205, 216.88
24. Birgit Pöppler, Germany, 5200, 216.67

Herbert Bickel

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