SFA playing for second bowling national championship Saturday

SFA playing for second bowling national championship Saturday
(Source: SFA Athletics)

From SFA Athletics

For the third time in program history, the SFA bowling team will be bowling for a national title after the Ladyjacks clinched a spot in the 2019 NCAA Women's Bowling Championship title match with an exciting 2-1 mega match win over eighth-ranked Maryland-Eastern Shore Friday afternoon inside RollHouse Wickliffe in Wickliffe, Ohio. SFA ousted the Hawks with a decisive best-of-seven Baker match win to seal the NCAA Bowling Championship semifinal victory after taking the traditional team match.

The Ladyjacks, who have gone a perfect 3-0 this week, are the only remaining unbeaten team in the NCAA Championship's eight-team double-elimination field.

SFA will bowl for the second team national title in school history Saturday evening at 5:30 p.m. CST. The NCAA Championship final will air live on ESPNU, while the title match can be streamed anywhere via the ESPN app and WatchESPN.

The national champion will be determined using a best-of-seven Baker match. The Ladyjacks will face either top-seeded Vanderbilt or third-ranked Nebraska in Saturday's title match. The Commodores handed the Huskers their first loss of the NCAA Championship with a 2-0 win Friday afternoon and the two teams will play a final elimination match Saturday morning at 8 a.m. CST.

Getting a team-high game of 214 from senior Paige Beeney, sixth-ranked SFA claimed the traditional team match with 122 pins more than Maryland-Eastern Shore (974-852). Sophomore Sarah Gill contributed a game of 198 as senior Dakotah Hazlewood bowled a 189 to help put the Ladyjacks ahead 1-0 in the mega match.

Despite owning a 31-pin advantage through the first two games of the Baker total pinfall match after rolling scores of 205 and 237, the Hawks rattled off three-straight game wins. Gaining plenty of ground with a 224-170 game three victory, Maryland-Eastern Shore increased its lead by seven pins with a 194-187 game four and completed the comeback by scoring 33 more pins than SFA in game five (172-139).

With the mega match knotted up at 1-1 after the 1,001-938 Baker total pinfall match setback, the Ladyjacks bowled their finest games of afternoon. Defeating the Hawks with impressive 237-190 and 220-182 game one and two triumphs, SFA took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Baker match with a 203-179 game three win. Staying steady, the senior duo of Beeney and Hazlewood closed out game four with strikes as the Ladyjacks rolled their way to a 4-0 best-of-seven Baker match victory with a 213-193 fourth game.

Owning a 1-1 record in national title matches, SFA has faced Nebraska in both of its two previous appearances in the NCAA Bowling Championship final. The Ladyjacks fell 4-2 to the Huskers in the 2015 NCAA Championship title match before avenging their loss with a 4-3 win over Nebraska for the 2016 NCAA title.

The Ladyjacks have faced Vanderbilt a total of 13 times during the season, including four times in the Southland Bowling League Championship, and have earned two traditional team match wins and both a Baker total pinfall and a best-of-seven Baker match victory over the Commodores. SFA has bowled against Nebraska six times in 2018-19, claiming both a traditional team match and a best-of-seven Baker match win against the Huskers.

Excluding the title match, each round of the 2019 NCAA Women's Bowling Championship consists of a best-of-three mega match that includes the use of three team game formats - Baker total pinfall, five-person traditional team and a best-of-seven Baker match.

The 2019 NCAA Bowling Championship field is comprised of 12 teams with eight schools rewarded automatic qualification through conference championships. SFA, who is ranked sixth nationally in both NCAA RPI and the latest National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA) top 25 poll, was one of four NCAA national title contenders who received an at-large selection. Ranked No. 1 in the NCAA's RPI rankings, Vanderbilt joined second-ranked McKendree, fourth-ranked Sam Houston State and third-ranked Nebraska as the four teams placed in the championship bracket in Ohio. The remaining eight teams competed in opening round matches April 5-7. Opening round teams and matchups were determined by the NCAA women's bowling committee based on selection criteria and geography.

Stay tuned to SFAJacks.com, as well as SFA’s social media platforms, for complete coverage of Ladyjack bowling throughout the spring.

NCAA Bowling Championship Semifinal vs. No. 8 Maryland-Eastern Shore | W, 2-1

Traditional Team Match | W, 974-852

Carlene Beyer 187, Megan Eaglehouse 186, Sarah Gill 198, Paige Beeney 214, Dakotah Hazlewood 189

Baker Match | L, 1,001-938

W, 205-198; W, 237-213; L, 224-170; L, 194-187; L, 172-139

Best 4-of-7 Baker Match | W, 4-0

W, 237-190; W, 220-182; W, 203-179; W, 213-193