RENO, NEV. (April 20, 2014)—The Sacred Heart bowling team finished in the top six in the USBC Intercollegiate Team Championship in Reno, Nev. this weekend. After being just one of four teams undefeated after day one, the Pioneers were knocked out of the double-elimination bracket by the eventual champion Robert Morris-Illinois and runner-up Lindenwood. Nicole Trudell (Coventry, R.I.) and Katelyn Wilson (Dighton, Mass.) lead the team averaging 197 throughout the tournament.
Sacred Heart entered Thursday's bracket as the 14 seed after 24 baker games of qualifying Wednesday. A strong showing from sophomore Katelyn Wilson (Dighton, Mass.), who filled all of her frames, helped the Pioneers defeated one of the nation's most talented teams Webber University 4.5-2.5 in the opening round of the bracket. On some of the most challenging lane conditions SHU has seen all season, the Pioneers tied the Warriors 233-233 in game one before dropping games two and three 202-178 and 179-148 respectively. Not ready to fall into the consolation bracket, Sacred Heart rebounded and took the next four straight (201-182, 166-141, 192-167, 185-169) to move onto the next round.
Senior Chevi Panzanella (Brewster, N.Y.) led the team, throwing half her shots for strikes, to a 4-2 win over Notre Dame (OH). The Pioneers and Falcons exchanged wins through the first four games with Sacred Heart taking game one 164-149 and game three 181-131. With the match tied at two games each, the Pioneers snuck a game five win by just one pin, 200-199, before handing the Falcons their first loss with the 216-173 victory in game six.
The RMU Eagles gave Sacred Heart its first loss in round four. Despite sloppy spare shooting causing SHU to lose in four straight games (203-202, 209-190, 189-180, 184-180), it was the Pioneers' closest match of the tournament with each game coming down to the last frame. Panzanella filled all her frames, while freshman Lauren Hoffman (Monroe Township, N.J.) came off the bench in game two to throw two perfect strikes.
The loss to RMU put Sacred Heart in the deciding game of the consolation bracket against Lindenwood. The winner would move on to face the bracket's only undefeated team for the chance to represent the "Blue Bracket" in the championship match.
The Pioneers came out strong taking game one with a decisive 195-161 victory, but stumbled in game two for a 221-195 loss. With spare trouble carrying over from the previous match, Sacred Heart lost a very close game three by just 13 pins, 178-165, but the Pioneers bounced back taking the fourth and fifth games 210-160 and 193-164 forcing the decisive game seven. SHU battled hard with Hoffman leading the way striking 50% of the time, but it wasn't enough as the Pioneers' season came to a close with the 216-187 defeat.