HAWKS ROLL THROUGH DAY TWO TO EARN A SPOT IN THE MEAC CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Tatiana Munoz saved the day in the fourth game vs. NCAT, starting a turkey.

Tatiana Munoz saved the day in the fourth game vs. NCAT, starting a turkey.

March 22, 2014

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NORFOLK, Va. - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) women's bowling team rolled through day two of the 2014 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Championships, going 3-0 and earning a spot in the championship match tomorrow, March 23 at AMF Lanes in Chesapeake, Va.

The Hawks, who earned the No.1 seed after a qualifying day on Friday, faced the eight-seed Coppin State Eagles in the first match. UMES cruised through games one and two, picking up a 204-142 and 226-169 pair of wins. Game three looked nothing like UMES however as the Hawks struggled. Throwing just two strikes and leaving four opens, UMES fell to Coppin State 152-151. They quickly rebounded however to take game four 194-163 and game five 177-158. The Hawks moved on with a 4-1 win.

Next up was the Spartans of Norfolk State. The 2012 MEAC Champions were no match for UMES. Game one was the closest. It came down to the anchor spot for Norfolk State, but Thea Aspiras, a decorated senior, couldn't mark and UMES took the game 174-169. From there the Hawks left little doubt. They posted a 253-202 win in game two, a 224-200 win in game three and a 211-161 win in game four to sweep the Spartans into the consolation side of the bracket. The 253 game saw eight strikes and three spares as the Hawks were clean throughout.

After a brief lunch break, UMES headed back to face the second-seeded North Carolina A&T Aggies. The Hawks came out soaring. Snatching a 190-143 win in game one set the tone for the match. Game two was again all UMES as they tossed a 202-172 win to take a 2-0 lead.

NCAT wasn't without a fight however. A pair of splits and a pair of opens in game three by UMES allowed the Aggies to make a run. A mark in the tenth sealed it and NCAT escaped game three with a four-pin win 179-175 and cut the UMES lead in half.

Hope was short lived however.

MEAC Rookie of the Year Sara Pelayo (Distrito Federal, Mexico) tossed an opening strike in game four and All-MEAC selection Victoria Jones (Baltimore, Md.) spared the second frame to get UMES going. Tatiana Munoz (Ibague Tolima, Colombia) left a mess however and opened the third. But no worries, Munoz would redeem herself. After spares from Megan Buja (Rockford, Ill.), Mariana Alvarado (Leon, Mexico) Pelyo and Jones, UMES would need a strike to pull away. Munoz saved the day. Strikes are contagious and Buja followed to double and Alvarado tossed the turkey to secure the 200-169 win.

Game five was all Hawks as they tossed their best game of the match 222-173. Munoz and Jones were both perfect, tossing a pair of strikes while Buja struck and spared, Pelayo spared twice and Alvarado marked in her only frame before Valerie Riggins (Vista, Calif.) spared and added eight on the fill. The Hawks won 4-1 over the Aggies.

UMES out shot their opponents on the day by almost 500 pins (451).

"I'm excited to have reached another milestone with this team." said head coach Kayla Bandy on the eve of her first MEAC Championship. "I'm just taking it all in," she said from the UMES vs. Norfolk State Baseball Game that the team attended at Norfolk State after they were done bowling. "The game keeps my mind clear and nerves down," she laughed. "One frame at a time, we are getting closer to achieving our goals and I am excited at the possibility of one of those coming true tomorrow."

The nation's third-ranked team will await North Carolina A&T or Florida A&M in the finals tomorrow. Those two teams will meet in the semi-final round on Sunday at 10:00 a.m.

No. 2 North Carolina A&T defeated No. 7 Morgan State, 4-0, and No. 6 Florida A&M, 4-1, before falling to UMES 4-1 in match nine.

Florida A&M, who were the sixth seed, opened the day with a 4-1 victory over No. 3 Delaware State. The Lady Rattlers fell, 4-1, in the next round to No. North Carolina A&T, but bounced back in the consolation bracket with a 4-3 win over No. 5 Bethune-Cookman. The win set up a matchup with Delaware State and the Lady Rattlers advanced to the tomorrow's semifinals with a 4-0 win over the Lady Hornets.

The 2014 MEAC Bowling Championship wraps up on tomorrow at 10 a.m. beginning with the semifinal round and concluding with the championship final at noon. The championship match will be televised in a tape-delayed format and will air on ESPNU on March 31 at 10:30 p.m.

Admission to the bowling championship is free and open to the public.

For more information on MEAC Bowling and other sponsored sports, visit www.MEACsports.com