In Friday’s semifinals, the McKendree women’s team (featured photo) topped Savannah College of Art and Design-Savannah, 4-1, and will face Lindenwood, 4.5-2.5 winners against Sacred Heart, in Saturday’s title match. The McKendree men’s team took a 4.5-1.5 victory over Wisconsin-Whitewater and will meet Robert Morris-Illinois, 4-3 winners against William Penn, in the final.
The championship matches will take place Saturday, with the women’s team finals at noon Eastern and the men’s team title match at 6:15 p.m. Eastern. Both matches will be taped for broadcast on CBS Sports Network with the women’s final to be televised on May 9 at 8 p.m. Eastern and the men’s final televised on May 15 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
The McKendree women will look to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since West Texas A&M in 1987 and 1988. It will be the fourth television show for the Bearcats, who won the ITC and NCAA Women’s Bowling Championships last year and was the runner-up at this year’s NCAA event, in the last two seasons.
“They keep putting themselves in position to win and that’s all you can do as a competitor,” head coach Shannon O’Keefe said. “Last week at the NCAA Championships was heartbreaking for our girls. To see the devastation on their faces, it hurt. We encouraged them to keep fighting, took that mentality over the next couple of days when practicing, and they’re hungry.”
McKendree senior Sarah Wille said the Bearcats put the NCAA loss behind them when they hit practice on Monday.
“We knew coming in here we had a target on our back,” Wille said. “We made sure we worked hard so we could get back and look to finish our season on a good note.”
Lindenwood was the second-ranked program in the nation this season, posting five wins along the way. The Lions last made a television show in 2011 and reached the semifinals in 2014.
“This team is so dedicated, just so deep and really talented,” said Phil Vida, who has coached the Lions the last 14 years. “It’s been fun to coach this group of girls. Everyone has contributed this week. There hasn’t been anyone who didn’t step up at the appropriate time.”
Amanda Garavet said the Lions were able to add some great talent and the team’s chemistry has been the best in her career.
“It’s absolutely unbelievable; I’ve been dreaming about this for all four years,” Garavet said of the chance to bowl for a national title. “We are going to go into this confident and I think we got this.”
McKendree won the 2016 ITC men’s title but last season had a younger team. Coach Dennis Knepper said the experience of last season’s loss in the title match will help when they face Robert Morris-Illinois.
“We’re back … you have to get there first,” Knepper said. “We came up a little short but we didn’t bowl terrible. I think the experience will help us a lot. The lane conditions change a lot and fast (on the TV lanes).”
Knepper also can lean on Matt Farber, a Team USA member who joined the Bearcats roster this season. Farber said they joked about him bowling last year, when he joined the coaching staff as a graduate assistant, and this year decided to make it a reality.
“We have such a deep roster,” Farber said. “I like to think I can bring some maturity to the group, along with some fire and compassion, and I think I can bowl a little bit.”
Robert Morris-Illinois senior Kenny Ryan said the Eagles have had good teams the last few years but this year’s team seemed to jell when the team competed in tournaments in late 2017. He said since then, the team has been clicking.
“This means everything,” Ryan said of making the title match. “We’ve been close a couple of times. This year, everyone was ready, everyone was prepared. If someone had to step up, they did and we faced adversity well.”
The Eagles won a title in 2013 and coach Danny Hayes said this team has been progressing to reach this point. They had a good run in 2016 but didn’t bowl quite as well at last season’s ITC.
“They came back this year and put the work in” Hayes said. “Kenny’s been bowling amazing, and this was his last chance to go (for a national title). It means the world to me. I want to see them enjoy the day.”
The 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams earned their spots in the ITC field by finishing in the top four at one of four sectional events held in March. All teams bowled 24 Baker qualifying games Thursday to determine seeding for the double-elimination bracket.
Saturday’s schedule at Sun Valley Lanes also includes the semifinal and title matches of the Intercollegiate Singles Championships. The men’s championship round starts at 9:30 a.m. Eastern and the women’s finals are at 4:15 p.m. Eastern. Both shows will be taped for broadcast on CBS Sports Network with the women’s show televised on April 24 at 8 p.m. Eastern, and the men’s final airing May 1 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
BOWL.com’s BowlTV provided live coverage of the event leading up to the televised finals. Click here for more information on the Intercollegiate Team Championships.
Eight teams still undefeated at 2018 Intercollegiate Team Championships
College bowlers to compete for national titles this week
Field determined for 2018 Intercollegiate Team Championships
Sectional Assignments announced for 2018 Intercollegiate Team Championships
USBC Collegiate to vacate Webber International Men’s 2017 ITC title
ITC, ISC sites determined through 2022
Double-elimination; best-of-seven matches
(16) Notre Dame-Ohio def. (8) St. Ambrose, 4.5-3.5 (St. Ambrose eliminated)
(13) William Penn def. (5) Morehead State, 4-2 (Morehead State eliminated)
(7) William Paterson def. (15) Arizona State, 4.5-2.5 (Arizona State eliminated)
(14) Lindenwood def. (11) Savannah College of Art and Design-Savannah, 4-1 (SCAD-Savannah eliminated)
Notre Dame-Ohio def. (12) St. Francis-Illinois, 4-2 (St. Francis-Illinois eliminated)
William Penn def. (1) Webber International, 4.5-3.5 (Webber International eliminated)
William Paterson def. (6) Midland, 4-3 (Midland eliminated)
Lindenwood def. (10) Wichita State, 4-3 (Wichita State eliminated)
(4) Robert Morris-Illinois def. (9) Calumet, 4-1
(3) McKendree def. (2) Wisconsin-Whitewater, 4-1
William Penn def. Notre Dame-Ohio, 4-1 (Notre Dame-Ohio eliminated)
William Paterson def. Lindenwood, 4.5-3.5 (Lindenwood eliminated)
William Penn def. Calumet, 4-0 (Calumet eliminated)
Wisconsin-Whitewater def. William Paterson, 4-1 (William Paterson eliminated)
Robert Morris-Illinois def. William Penn, 4-3
McKendree def. Wisconsin-Whitewater, 4.5-1.5
Double-elimination; best-of-seven matches
(16) Schenectady CCC def. (8) Maryland Eastern Shore, 4-3 (Maryland Eastern Shore eliminated)
(12) St. Ambrose def. (13) Alabama-Birmingham, 4-2 (Alabama-Birmingham eliminated)
(15) Newman def. (10) William Penn, 4-3 (William Penn eliminated)
(14) Notre Dame-Ohio def. (6) Grand View, 4-2 (Grand View eliminated)
(5) Savannah College of Art and Design-Savannah def. Schenectady CCC, 4-0 (Schenectady CCC eliminated)
St. Ambrose def. (1) Delaware State, 4-3 (Delaware State eliminated)
(11) Sacred Heart def. Newman, 4-2 (Newman eliminated)
(7) St. Francis-Illinois def. Notre Dame-Ohio, 4-2 (Notre Dame-Ohio eliminated)
(4) McKendree def. (9) Stephen F. Austin, 4-1
(2) Lindenwood def. (3) Wichita State, 4-2
SCAD-Savannah def. St. Ambrose, 4-0 (St. Ambrose eliminated)
Sacred Heart def. St. Francis-Illinois, 4-0 (St. Francis-Illinois eliminated)
SCAD-Savannah def. Stephen F. Austin, 4.5-2.5 (Stephen F. Austin eliminated)
Sacred Heart def. Wichita State, 4.5-1.5 (Wichita State eliminated)
McKendree def. SCAD-Savannah, 4-1
Lindenwood def. Sacred Heart, 4.5-2.5