Maryland-Eastern Shore rolls to historic bowling title
Maryland-Eastern Shore defeated Arkansas State, 4-2, to capture the 2008 NCAA Women’s Bowling National Championship at Thunder Alley in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday.
The win marked Maryland-Eastern Shore’s first women’s bowling national championship and first NCAA national title in any sport in the school’s history. The victory also made Hawks’ head coach Sharon Brummell the first woman and first African-American to lead a team to the title since NCAA established the championship in 2004.
“Somebody told me I was the first woman to win a championship,” Brummell said. “We’ve been to all five championships and finally a woman wins. It’s a wonderful feeling, it really is.”
Maryland-Eastern Shore is part of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and the title is the first for a team from the MEAC.
Fresh off a thrilling, 4-3, come-from-behind semifinal victory over defending national champion Vanderbilt earlier in the day, Maryland-Eastern Shore once again worked from behind in the title match. Arkansas State took an early lead, claiming the first game, 223-179, on the strength of a string of six straight strikes beginning in the fourth frame.
But, Maryland-Eastern Shore, ranked second nationally and the 2007 national runner up, responded quickly. The Hawks used seven spares and three strikes to even the back-and-forth match. In the third game, Arkansas State’s Marissa Martinek rolled two consecutive strikes in the tenth frame to give Arkansas State a 182-180 win and a narrow 2-1 advantage in the championship tilt.
The Hawks registered six strikes and five spares in game four, however, to tie the match at two games apiece. Maryland-Eastern Shore maintained that momentum, winning the final two games of the match 175-152 and 174-170, respectively, to capture the national title.
After the qualifying rounds, which were decided on total pinfall, Maryland-Eastern Shore was seeded seventh in the eight-team field. In match play, teams followed a best-of-seven Baker format, in which each member of a five-person team bowls a frame until a complete 10-frame game is completed.
Brummell said she believed that after her team’s showing last year, the squad was ready to contend for a championship. Senior and tournament most outstanding bowler Jessica Worsley was the difference-maker.
The Hawks blanked No. 2 seed Vanderbilt, 4-0, in the opening round of double-elimination bracket play to move on to face a tough Arkansas State squad making its first NCAA tournament appearance. Worsley sent that match to an eighth game when she picked up a crucial spare in the tenth frame of game seven to earn a third roll. Worsley needed nine pins to win the match but was only able to knock down eight to tie the game. In the eighth game, she converted a difficult 4-7, 6-10 split in the fifth frame to help propel Maryland-Eastern Shore to a hard fought 4-3-1 victory.
After falling out of the winner’s bracket with a loss to Vanderbilt in the third round, Maryland-Eastern Shore faced the Commodores one more time in the semifinals. With a 3-0 lead, Vanderbilt appeared well on the way to earning a chance to defend its national title. However, in the tenth frame of game five, Worsley picked up a tough 2-10 split to earn a third ball and capture the game for the Hawks. Maryland-Eastern Shore went on to a 4-3 victory and advanced to the national championship match.
“Jessica’s been here the whole four years. She’s gone to four national championships and on her way out she wanted to go out as a champion and she really went out as a champion,” Brummell said.
Worsley said she couldn’t have asked for a better coaching staff or teammates to finish her career with and win a national championship. “Just going out on top and finishing first my senior year, words can’t describe how great that feels.”
Arkansas State downed Sacred Heart and Minnesota State Mankato and twice defeated New Jersey City to earn a berth in the national championship match.
“To represent Arkansas State and play live on national television and do well goes beyond our expectations,” said Arkansas State head coach Chris James. “But we did exactly what we wanted to do; we wanted to prove to the committee and everyone else that we belonged in the tournament and I think we did that.”
Joining Worsley on the all-tournament team was teammate Maria Rodriguez, Maggie Adams from Arkansas State, Brittany Garcia of Vanderbilt and Vicki Spratford of New Jersey City.
The championship match was broadcast live on ESPNU and will be shown on tape delay on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ET today.
2008 NCAA Women’s Bowling Championship agate
Central Mo. def. Nebraska, 4-1; Md.-East. Shore def. Vanderbilt , 4-0; Arkansas St. def. Sacred Heart, 4-0; New Jersey City def. Minn. St. Mankato , 4-1.
New Jersey City def. Central Mo., 4-2-1; Md.-East. Shore def. Arkansas St., 4-3-1; Minn. St. Mankato def. Nebraska, 4-0 (Nebraska eliminated); Vanderbilt def. Sacred Heart, 4-3 (Sacred Heart eliminated).
Arkansas St. def. Minn. St. Mankato , 4-1 (Minn. St. Mankato eliminated). Vanderbilt def. Central Mo., 4-2 (Central Mo. eliminated).
Arkansas St. def. New Jersey City, 4-2; Vanderbilt def. Md.-East. Shore, 4-2.
Arkansas St. def. New Jersey City, 4-3 (New Jersey City eliminated); Md.-East. Shore def. Vanderbilt, 4-3 (Vanderbilt eliminated).
Md.-East. Shore def. Arkansas St., 4-2.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association