MARIA RODRIGUEZ BOWLS AS TOP SEED TONIGHT ON ESPN2
July 3, 2014
RENO, Nev. - A three-time National Champion, a National Player of the Year and a six-time All-American, Maria Rodriguez (Ibague Tolima, Colombia) will now represent her home country of Colombia and all of Hawk nation tonight, live on ESPN2 as she bowls for her first major title since turning professional after her collegiate career.
The former University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) superstar, who guided the Hawks to their first NCAA DI National Championship in 2008 and then again in 2011 as well as their first United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Collegiate National Championship in 2011, will be the top-seed in tonight's stepladder finals of the 2014 USBC Queens presented by Storm.
Rodriguez needs to win just one match to claim the title, $20,000 and the coveted Queens tiara. The action begins with the four vs. five seed match live on ESPN 2 at 7:00 p.m. from the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev.
The event, regarded as the most prestigious major tournament in women's bowling, saw Rodriguez earn the seed with a perfect 5-0 match-play record against some of the best women's bowlers ever to grace the sport, including last year's champion, this year's No. 1 seed, the first woman to win a PBA title, a multi-time collegiate player of the year, the first woman on the PBA Tour, and other multi-time Queens winners.
She averaged over a 212 throughout those five wins.
As one of only four undefeated bowlers at the end of Tuesday, Rodriguez entered Wednesday against another undefeated bowler, Missy Parkin of California. Parkin, the 2011 Queens winner, fell to Rodriguez 621-579.
Rodriguez then faced a two-time former National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association (NCBCA) MVP in Tannya Roumimper of Indonesia. The former Wichita State star was the last undefeated bowler, along with Rodriguez, and they were bowling for the No. 1 seed in tonight's event. Down 58 pins after game one in the best pinfall over three-games format, Rodriguez cruised to a 614-582 win with strong games in the second and third sets.
"I learned how to be patient on the fresh [oil] because I didn't have anything on it," said Rodriguez in an interview with bowl.com. "I knew it would come to me, and I tried to make good shots. It was really important to win the match for the top seed because I'll get a chance to see where everyone else is playing and where I can find some hold and create some room to play with. It would mean the world if I won."
Jennifer Higgins, who fell to Roumimper, and Parkin both found their way back into the spotlight through a shootout round that included the last four players in the elimination bracket. All four bowled three games on the same pair of lanes, and total pinfall determined the three who would advance to the stepladder.
Higgins, who is making her second consecutive Queens TV show, led the way with a 736 series and was followed by two-time Queens winner Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., (703) and Parkin (689). The fourth bowler in the shootout was 2009 Queens champion Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., who shot 589 and was eliminated, giving her a sixth-place finish.
The 2014 Queens featured 178 players vying for the major title and top prize from the more than $91,000 prize fund, which includes a $20,000 contribution by presenting sponsor Storm.
Before Wednesday's action former Hawk T'nia Falbo (Greensburg, Pa.), who bowled with Rodriguez on both championship teams in 2011, took ninth place.
All of the qualifying rounds and match play competition at the 2014 Queens were broadcast live on BowlTV. The Queens is open to any female USBC member.