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Pioneers fall short in NCAA Tournament

By Erica Spessot
On April 17, 2012

It was an exciting weekend for the Sacred Heart women’s bowling team as they joined seven other teams for the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

The Pioneers traveled to Ohio to compete at the largest bowling center in the country, as they competed against the top teams in the country.

This would be their fifth appearance in the nine-year running of the NCAA Tournament.

“We didn’t have the outcome we had hoped for, but going in we knew nothing was guaranteed,” said sophomore Nicole Trudell. “All eight teams competing had strong seasons, and all could take the championship trophy home.”

The Pioneers suffered back-to-back losses in Friday morning’s matches, eliminating them from the tournament.

The Pioneers were able to fight back from a 3-0 deficit in their first match, but a split in the 10th frame of game seven would end the season.

Sacred Heart got off to a slow start in their first match against the Maryland-Eastern Show Hawks, as they had five open frames in a 206-171 defeat.

Four straight strikes in the second game by UMES gave them a 2-0 advantage on a 214-183 victory.

Sacred Heart’s two open frames in the third game wouldn’t slow them down as Trudell, Savannah Zientara, and Meghan Pero bowled three straight strikes. It was a close game, but the Hawks would take it 212-202, giving them a 3-0 lead.

“We got off to a slow start against champions University of Maryland Eastern Shore,” said Trudell. “But we were able to come together to force them into game seven.”

The Pioneers made a powerful comeback shooting a 235, including eight strikes, for their highest game of the block. Sacred Heart would take game five as well with a turkey in the middle frames leading them to a 212-205 win.

Sacred Heart took the lanes by storm as they got four straight strikes starting from the second frame. Their 206-191 win tied Sacred Heart and UMES at 3-3, giving them a deciding game seven.

The Pioneers were unable to recover from an early open frame and a UMES triple early. The Hawks were able to claim the game 205-187, and the match 4-3.

The Pioneers would go on to take Valparaiso next, losing some of the momentum from their first match. They struggled in the opening match losing 188-162 to the Crusaders. They bounced back in the second game with a double, winning 197-178. Their three open frames in game three cost them a 202-153 loss.

Sacred Heart took the chance at a comeback, as they took advantage of a split from the Crusaders’ anchor. Junior Jackie Carbonetto struck in the ninth frame, right before Trudell buried the pocket twice in the tenth frame with a nine count, stealing game four 202-201. The Crusaders battled back in game five, taking the match 222-197 with five straight strikes.

Sacred Heart’s season came to an end as the Crusaders outscored them 201-190.

“The Valpo match was a heart breaker because we knew the loser went home,” said Trudell. “As a team we learned a lot though, and we are hoping to return to Detroit next year and use what we learned from this year to win a title.”

The Pioneers finished their 2012 season as the Northeast Conference Champions, reaching second in the national poll.

“The conference championship victory was one of our goals this season and it felt great to be able to check the win off our list of goals,” said Trudell. “Hopefully next year we can improve and check off more goals.”


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