BOWLING RALLIES BEHIND JONES & BUJA TO MAKE A RUN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
March 8, 2014
NASHVILLE - It may not have been the usual suspects but the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) made a roaring comeback on day two of the Music City Classic and climbed from sixth place to fourth, putting themselves in contention to win the event. UMES will face third-seeded Vanderbilt in the semi-final round first thing in the morning on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. (ET).
While she has been a big part of the season to date, junior Victoria Jones (Baltimore, Md.) had a career day, bowling all six games to average a 225.33 and shoot a career high 267. She wasn't the only one setting records as Megan Buja (Rockford, Ill.) rolled a career high 280 and averaged a 213 over her six games. The two were so dominant that they both claimed a spot in the top five in the event, with Jones besting all 200 bowlers to take the individual top honors. Buja was fourth overall.
Tatiana Munoz (Ibague Tolima, Colombia) was the only other Hawk to bowl all six games, averaging a 178.5 while classmate Valerie Riggin (Vista, Calif.) bowled five games and averaged a 192.8 with a 234 high game.
UMES started off a little rocky, tossing a 911 in the match with No. 15 McKendree. It was good enough for a win however as they mustered just an 826. Jones was the best of the bunch, tossing a 194 while Buja and Riggin added a 192 and 191 respectively.
UMES then faced off with Tulane, the only unranked team they would see on the day. And they poured it on. The Hawks tossed a 1011 to the Green Wave's 853. Jones would toss her career high 267 in the match. She opened with a spare and then tossed eight consecutive strikes before sparing the tenth. Buja added a 248. The match could have been worse, but Riggin mustered only a 131. Mariana Alvarado (Leon, Mexico) added a 191 from the anchor spot. All three UMES reserves saw action in the match as head coach Kayla Bandy tried to find the right mix.
Match three saw the Hawks take on their old rival Vanderbilt. The No. 8 Commodores took advantage of an inconsistent Hawk squad. Jones was again the bright spot, tossing a 238 to keep it respectable. She threw seven strikes in her ten frames whereas the rest of the team only had nine in all of their 40 frames combined. Buja rolled just a 144, Alvarado a 160, Munoz a 180 and Justyne Falbo (Greensburg, Pa.) a 147, although part of that was from Riggin who subbed in. Vandy came back to beat the Hawks by more than 100 pins, something uncharacteristic of the Hawks. That loss renewed the Hawks and they dropped to seventh place in the standings. A quick look at themselves was all the Hawks needed to prove to the field that they were better than seventh place.
Lone senior, Buja started leading by example. She opened the fourth match of the day bowling in the fourth position. She started with a strike, then threw a spare. She then threw 10 straight strikes for her career high 280. Jones was good too. She converted a split for a spare in the first frame then tossed six strikes and a pair of spares before opening in the tenth. Still, a 216 is solid. Riggin added a 192, with five strikes. Munoz added a 179. Alvarado was bowling lead-off but had to come out early as she couldn't find the pocket in the first five frames, opening twice. All together the Hawks tallied a 1014 to top No. 14 Valparaiso by 71 pins.
UMES then topped No. 19 Alabama State with a commanding 1061-872 win. Buja tossed five strikes in row and tallied a 223. Jones and Munoz both tossed a 234 while Munoz anchored with a 190. Freshman Juliana Franco (Pereira, Colombia) who had subbed in during other matches got a start to shoot 180.
In the last match of the day the Hawks took on second-ranked Nebraska. With Buja fourth and Jones in anchor the team bowled well. The pair tossed a dozen strikes and shot a 191 and 203 respectively. Riggin was the star of the match, tossing a 216 and finishing with four straight strikes. Franco and Munoz, bowled one and two threw a 183 and 181 respectively to round out the Hawks 974. Sadly, the Huskers were better, knocking down 1,012 pins between their starting five to grab the win.
UMES improves to 76-18.
The Hawks climbed three spots to fourth, trailing the leader, Fairleigh Dickinson by 485 pins. Vandy, in third is 189 pins out. Arkansas State is in second, 89 pins behind FDU.
Action resumes tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. (ET) and coverage will be live for the three best-of-seven Baker games on www.bowl.com