Elmwood Park, NJ - The SHU women's bowling team began the defense of its Northeast Conference title with wins in the first two rounds of the 2011 NEC tournament. The Pioneers picked up their first loss of the double elimination event in the final game of the afternoon, falling to top-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson. Sacred Heart and Adelphi will meet Sunday morning for a chance to join the Knights in the championship match. The winner of the Pioneers and Panthers semifinal tilt will have to defeat Fairleigh Dickinson twice to become the 2011 Northeast Conference champion.
Nicole Trudell (Coventry, RI) was named the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year in the league's annual award ceremony, held between rounds two and three. Trudell also earned a spot on both the All-NEC first team and NEC All-Rookie squad. Senior Sarah Pelletier (Lewiston, ME) garnered a selection to the All-Northeast Conference second team. Fairleigh Dickinson's Danielle McEwan was named the NEC Bowler of the Year while FDU coach Mike LoPresti earned coach of the year accolades.
Sacred Heart (75-37) opened up a 2-0 lead in the first round of the best-of-seven baker game format against seventh-seeded Long island. The Blackbirds rebounded to win game three and cut the SHU lead to 2-1. The Pioneers answered with a convincing 205-157 triumph in game four before dismissing LIU from round one with a 212-208 decision in the fifth game to win the match 4-1.
The Pioneers struggled in the first game of round two and fell behind 1-0 early to third-seeded New Jersey City. However, SHU rallied to win the next three games, including a dominant 279-193 victory to take a 3-1 edge. The Gothic Knights took game five by an 18 pin margin but Sacred Heart knocked off NJCU 203-189 in game six, advancing to the first semifinal of the tournament with the 4-2 win.
Fairleigh Dickinson rolled past the Pioneers in a 4-0 sweep to punch their ticket into the championship round. The loss to the Knights forces Sacred Heart into an elimination semifinal tomorrow morning against Adelphi.
The Pioneers take on the Panthers tomorrow at 9:00 am with the championship match set to begin no earlier than 11:00 am.
Fans can follow all of tomorrow's semifinal and championship match action as Paul Dottino calls all the action live on www.NortheastConference.TV.
Nicole Trudell on latest Pioneer Vision Bowling Report: