Megan Buja tossed 18 strikes and 15 spares today in her 40 frames.

Jan. 31, 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas - Just like they did last weekend, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) women's bowling team finished day one in fourth place. The Lady Hawks tallied 3,788 pins over five four-game Baker matches at the annual Prairie View A&M Invitational held at the International Training and Research Center (ITRC) in Arlington, Texas.

The Hawks entered the event holding an impressive and perfect 33-0 record in Baker matches this season, but the streak came to an end early on in the event as the first game saw the Hawks take a loss to No. 10 Sam Houston State.763-744. While the difference was less than 20 pins, the Bearkats won game one 178-168, game two 206-171 and game three 224-202. They took a commanding 67 pin lead but game four was all Hawks with a 203-155 win.

In that final game Megan Buja (Rockford, Ill.) opened the game with a strike. Striking is contagious in team bowling and Valerie Riggin (Vista, Calif.), Justyne Falbo (Greensburg, Pa.), Tatiana Munoz (Ibague Tolima, Colombia) and Mariana Alvarado (Leon, Mexico) would all strike to make it a five bagger. Buja couldn't throw the sixth one, leaving an open in the sixth frame after a 7-split and getting just the two pins. Riggin then did the same. Then so did Falbo. Munoz rebounded with a strike and Alvarado spared and struck ont eh fill to recover. UMES closed the gap by 48 pins they almost pulled off the come from behind win in game four.

In the second match the Hawks would take on Jackson State. UMES would falter in game one, 170-159 but quickly rebounded in the second game 229-174. The match was close in the third game but the Hawks extended their lead with a 169-164 win. In the fourth game the Hawks struggled but Jackson State did more so as UMES won 158-127. That gave the Hawks the 715-635 win.



Match three pitted UMES against rival Vanderbilt. The nation's eighth ranked team came out on fire building a commanding 232-168 win in game one over UMES. Trailing 64 pins the Hawks turned the tables on the Commodores with a 207-145 win, a 62 pin difference and virtually evening the match. Game three went to UMES 178-158 and game four UMES posted a 214-189 win to take the match 767-724.

The Hawks used all eight bowlers in the match. Buja led-off but seeing some significant action was freshman Juliana Franco (Pereira, Colombia) in the second spot. Sara Pelayo (Distrito Federal, Mexico) bowled third and Munoz and Alvarado rounded out the line-up. Coach Kayla Bandy used all three remaining subs in the match. Buja never came out and was clean all eight frames with five strikes. Franco, who threw five strikes in seven frames the previous match, struggled early and replaced by Falbo who finished the match with five spares. Pelayo also came out after throwing a split in her first frame. Victoria Jones (Baltimore, Md.) stepped in and tossed four strikes over the next seven frames to help with the push. Munoz was clean as well, tossing five strikes in her eight frames. Alvarado, in anchor was solid marking in all eight frames.

Match four pitted the nation's No. 1 team, Arkansas State against the UMES Hawks the No.2 team in the country. UMES would shoot their best game so far of the day against the Red Wolves, a 772, but ASU was on, posting an impressive 827.

The Hawks jumped out to a win in game one, tossing a 207-195 victory. Buja and Falbo set the tone with strikes in the first two frames while Jones, Munoz and Alvarado all covered with a spare. Up 12, the lead was trimmed in game two as the two heavyweights went back and forth with ASU coming out on top 192-183, cutting the Hawk lead to three. Game three was where the match was decided. UMES would post a respectable 189 but ASU was on fire, tossing a 245 and taking a 53 pin lead. Game four was another back and forth affair as the two traded blows. The only real miscue came in the sixth frame on a Buja open, but the rest of the game was clean with Alvaado tossing four strikes in the game. It ended 195-193 in favor of UMES. The irony is that UMES tallied more pins in three games, but game three was their undoing.

In the final match of the day UMES faced No. 5 Stephen F. Austin. Deflated from the Arkansas State loss, the Hawks fell in game one 190-149. Down 41 pins UMES covered the gap in game two. After Buja spared, Falbo struck. Jones opened, but Munoz and Alavrez combined for a double. Then a spare, and three more strikes propelled UMES to the 214-166 win and a seven-pin lead. Game three went back to SFA 192-181, an 11-pin win and four-pin lead in the match.

UMES was ready in game four. They tossed four strikes and spare over the first five frames. Buja then struck again in the sixth, Falbo followed and so did Riggin. Munoz would open in the ninth, cutting into the Hawk game four win, but Alvarado piled on 30 more with three strikes in the tenth. That game UMES the 246-197 win. Those 49 pins gave the Hawks the 790-745 win.

"We bowled better as the day went on," said Bandy. "Tough conditions out there today and it took a little while for the bowlers to see it."

UMES is in fourth place, jumping over SFA and Vanderbilt. They have 3,788 pins, trailing third place Arkansas State (3,914) by 126 pins. Nebraska is second overall with 3,951 pins while Sam Houston State leads after one day with 3,961 pins. UMES trails first by 173 pins. Sam Houston is the only team to go 5-0 on the opening day. Nebraska and Arkansas State went 4-1 while UMES, Vanderbilt (in fifth) Stephen F. Austin (in sixth) and Central Missouri (in eighth) all went 3-2.

The Invitational starts back tomorrow morning with five traditional team games starting at 9:30 a.m. CT. The USBC is live streaming the event on BowlTV.

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