UMES BOWLING OPENS 2014 CAMPAIGN WITH A 6-0 DAY AT KUTZTOWN
All-American Mariana Alvarado anchored the Hawk attack to a 6-0 day.
All-American Mariana Alvarado anchored the Hawk attack to a 6-0 day.

Jan. 25, 2014

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READING, Pa. - The UMES women's bowling team got back in the swing of things this weekend, kicking off the 2014 portion of their season at the Kutztown Invitational. The event, held is Reading, Pa. at Heister Lanes, has been kind to UMES in the past, as the Lady Hawks have won the event three times and rolled two 300s at the lanes, one individually and one as a team.

Day one was pretty much par for the course for the surging Hawks as they opened up a perfect 6-0 and are in fourth place at the end of day one.

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), ranked No 2 in the nation in both the NTCA Coaches and Media polls, entered the event at 40-5 overall and pushed that to 46-5. They are the highest ranked team in the field and have the highest winning percentage in the field.

The Hawks, who have not lost a Baker-format match this season and are now 30-0 in that type of match, didn't see too much of a challenge on the opening day. They opened with a 777-563 win over Pitt-Bradford. Megan Buja (Rockford, Ill.) led the charge, bowling lead-off, while Valerie Riggin (Vista, Calif.), Tatiana Munoz (Ibague Tolima, Colombia), Sara Pelayo (Distrito Federal, Mexico) and anchor Mariana Alvarado (Leon, Mexico) combined to post a high of a 220 in the 214 pin win.

The second match was more of the same. Other than Riggin and Munoz switching spots, UMES cruised to a 308 pin domination of Mount Aloysius, rolling a 212 high in the 735-427 win.

UMES finally saw a ranked opponent when No. 17 St. Francis-Brooklyn took the lane next to the Hawks. Not happy with the pin falls to date, despite dominating wins, Coach Kayla Bandy shuffled her lineup, adding Victoria Jones (Baltimore, Md.) after Buja, and Justyne Falbo (Greensburg, Pa.) in third and Pelayo and Alvarado in fourth and fifth. The change worked as UMES posted an 884-754 win, rolling all four games over 200 with a 247 in game one and 200,211 and 226 following. That same lineup picked up another win in the fourth game, a 778-448 win over Medaille. The 330 pin thumping saw highs of 211 and 215 along the way.

Up next was Sacred Heart. The 12th ranked Pioneers would be the highest-ranked team UMES saw on day one, but they still posed no real problem as the Hawks, who only bowled a 757 still cruised to a 110 pin win as SHU only tallied a 647. Still the Pioneers handed UMES their only game loss of the day, a 189-186, but the next three games were all Hawks and they cruised from there, posting a high of 200 in game two.

Lastly the Hawks faced New Jersey City. The Gothic Knights, who once were a force in the collegiate bowling world couldn't muster enough to compete as UMES dominated them by 410 pins, 805-395. Game two was particularly lopsided as the Hawks 241-79 win was 162 pins better.

At the end of the six games, UMES, along with Wisconsin-Whitewater, Vanderbilt and Fairleigh Dickinson all stood at 6-0. The WarHawks of Wisconsin-Whitewater held the lead with a pinfall of 4,911 while Vanderbilt was second with 4,909, two pins behind. FDU was third with 4,877, 34 pins out of first and the Hawks had complied 4,736, 175 pins out of first and 141 out of third. MEAC counterpart North Carolina A&T was fifth with a 3-3 record but an impressive 4,585 pins.

The 2014 invitational is once again the nation's largest tournament, holding 26 teams. Two dropped out at the last-minute reducing the field form a scheduled 28. It often battles the Music City Classic for that distinction, an event UMES also attends. Kutztown also has the distinction of being live streamed, thanks to Bowl.TV and can be seen live all three days on youtube.com/bowltv. Lanes 17-18 and 19-20 will be featured on the live stream each day.

The event kicked off on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. and starts, Saturday at 9:30 a.m. It concludes Sunday at 8:30 a.m. As per NCAA rules, Friday was quad-bakers (four-game, highest pinfall), Saturday is traditional team games and Sunday will be best-of-seven Baker format.

UMES opens up Saturday with Fairleigh Dickinson and faces some stiffer competition, including Kutztown, Adelphi, and St. Francis (Pa.).