NO FOUR-PEAT; HAWKS ELIMINATED IN FOURTH ROUND OF ITCs
April 20, 2012
LINCOLN, Neb. - It has been a sensational season for the women's bowling team of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). A back-to-back NCAA National Championship, the third in five years, highlighted the year. The icing on the cake would have been a back-to-back United State Bowling Congress (USBC) Intercollegiate Team Championships (ITC). Well, the Hawks had their cake and ate it too, but it didn't have the icing, as they were eliminated today in the fourth round of the 2012 ITCs.
"It has been a great season for the girls, they did really well," said first-year head coach Kristina Frahm. "We bowled well today, but mistakes cost us, we let up, they came back. We can't let up, we didn't do that at the NCAAs but we did here and Wichita State is one of the best teams in the country, NCAA or not, and you can't let up against them."
The Shockers, the tournament's top seed, eliminated UMES 4-3 in a bowling slugfest, featuring two of the best programs in the nation going head-to-head in the fourth round.
The Hawks jumped out to a one game lead, edging the Shockers by two pins 193-191. Anchor T'nia Falbo (Greensburg, Pa.) wasn't as dead on today as she was in Ohio. She left an open in the tenth frame that would have sealed the win but Jazreel Tan didn't strike out the tenth for WSU and allowed the Hawks to hold on.
In game two the Hawks and Shockers traded strikes and spares. Falbo's tenth mirrored game one, an open with a 7 and a 2, but this time Tan struck out and gave Wichita the 215-205 win.
Game three was all Hawks. UMES finished with eight strikes before an eight split on the final two balls of the tenth by Falbo. It didn't matter this time, the Hawks 243 was too much to catch and the Shockers didn't break 200 with a 168.
Now up 2-1 UMES thought they had game four as well. But again the tenth cost them the game. Falbo rolled a nine-spare on the first two balls of the final frame. But she left a six-split on the third ball of the frame and the Shockers capitalized. Tan, the Collegiate Bowler of the Year got a 9-spare and an eight count on the fill ball. That gave them the 173-171 win. An eight on Falbo's fill ball would have meant a tie, a nine a win, but it wasn't to be.
The match was now tied at two games each and the Hawks came soaring back. Four strikes in game five, plus a pair of Wichita opens, helped the Hawks pullout a 190-182 win. Wichita opened in the first and eighth frames. The latter was costly. The Hawks had opened themselves in the seventh, but they took advantage of the Shocker miscue. Rolling spares in the eighth (Ramirez) and ninth (Alvarado) and a strike and spare in the tenth (Falbo) sealed the win.
In game six the Hawks got shocked. Wichita State opened with a spare in the first but then threw an impressive seven consecutive strikes to put the game out of reach early for UMES. The Hawks were solid, sparing the first five frames, striking in the sixth and sparing the seventh before leaving an open in the eighth and ninth, ensuring they could not come back. WSU posted a match high 253 to the Hawks' 177.
While Wichita State landed a big shot with game six the match wasn't over. The two bowling heavyweights were headed to a decisive game seven. WSU opened with a spare but Hawk senior Paula Vilas (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) countered with a strike giving the Hawks an early advantage. It was short lived. Megan Buja (Rockford, Ill.) opened in the second with an eight-split and Wichita State went on to throw three consecutive strikes.
UMES picked up Buja, getting strikes from Anggie Ramirez (Bogota, Colombia) and Mariana Alvarado (Leon, Mexico). The Shockers had the lead but not by much. Tan and Falbo both spared in the fifth frames but Vilas got a spare for the Hawks in the sixth. WSU struck. While Buja spared her seventh frame Wichita State opened with a split-seven. There was still hope for UMES. They needed strikes if they wanted to win.
It wasn't to be. They got three consecutive spares, filling the boxes but not gaining enough ground on the Shockers who threw three strikes in the eighth and ninth and in the first ball of the tenth. Falbo doubled in the tenth but it was too little too late as WSU topped UMES 221-197 and moved on.
Earlier in the day UMES topped 16-seed, West Texas A&M, 4-2 in the third round. The Hawks opened with a loss, falling 188-174 to the Lady Buffs. They quickly rebounded to take the next three games, 230-215, 190-172, and 191-189. The Buffs bounced back to take a185-170 win in game five but it was all for naught as UMES would eliminate them in game six, 208-186.
Later in the day Wichita State was eliminated by Midland, 4-1 and the last NCAA school standing, Stephen F. Austin, eliminated McKendree 4-3 in a thriller. Webber International would post a 4-0 win over Stephen F. Austin in the next round, sending them home. On the other side, Midland, already with a loss to Lindenwood, wouldn't have any more of it. They won back to back matches to set-up the finals tomorrow with Webber International.
The Wichita State loss not only ended the Hawks campaign but also the collegiate career of Paula Vilas.
"What a special person," said Frahm. "I have known Paula for four years and had the pleasure to bowl with her and coach her. She has made her mark on this program, being a big part of three National Championships. She is an All-American, a MEAC MVP, and a bundle of energy. She will go down as one of the best ever at UMES."
Vilas, who ended her NCAA press-conference telling the reporters, "I'm just looking for a job, man," will graduate in May with a business degree with a concentration in marketing.
Frahm, who ends her first season, although it be half of one, with an NCAA title, was grateful for the help she got along the way. "Coming in fresh off of being a player, mid-year, I could not have done this without help. I have to thank the administration, [Athletic Director] Mr. [Keith] Davidson and all the people who talked me through things, walked through forms and showed me what to do. My assistant coaches, Doug Dukes and Vince Brummell, made this seamless. I am so grateful they stuck around and for all that they contributed. As a player I appreciated what they did, as a coach I appreciated that and how they did it. They were huge to winning this season," she stated.
"But to my coach, Sharon Brummell," said Frahm, "Thank you, thank you, thank you. She coached me for four years and then thought enough of me to give me her baby. She left a dynasty here. I am just grateful I get to continue to be a part of it. I could not have done this without her, this is her team and we are all hers and anyone who bowls here in the future will be hers, all because of what she built in Princess Anne."
The next chapter in UMES bowling starts now is the effort to replace Vilas in the lineup and takes to the lanes in November, but first a party is in order. The campus has planned a celebration to honor the NCAA National Champions on Tuesday, April 24 at 5:00 p.m. in the William P. Hytche Athletic Center. It is open to the public.