Freshman Sara Pelayo tallied an 1002 over five games on Saturday.

Feb. 1, 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas - It was another tough day of team games for the women keglers of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). The Hawks went to the second day of the Prairie View A&M Invitational in fourth place but found themselves bowling the traditional team games and like they have all year, struggled at times. They managed to post a 3-2 overall record on the day but dropped to fifth place overall, down a spot from day one.

The tough outings reared their head right away as the Hawks took on Texas Southern in the opening match. The Tigers bowled well and took advantage of rough outings from Valerie Riggin (Vista, Calif.) and Tatiana Munoz (Ibague Tolima, Colombia) to capitalize and win 958-947.

In the match the Hawks started off well, getting marks from Megan Buja (Rockford, Ill.) and Sara Pelayo (Distrito Federal, Mexico). The senior and freshman pair was on the entire match as Buja was clean throughout with six strikes, including three in the tenth to tally a 214. Pelayo was even better with seven strikes but strung three together for a turkey in frames seven through nine and finished with a 226.

Things didn't go so well for UMES with Riggin and the usually solid Munoz in the third and fourth spots. Riggin shot a tough 165, fighting through opens in the seventh and ninth but Munoz couldn't find the pocket, opening in the second, third and fourth frames. She recovered to mark the rest of the way but the damage was done and she shot a 158. Clutch Anchor Mariana Alvarado (Leon, Mexico) was solid, but not her usual self. She opened in the eighth and had just four strikes, fishing with a 184, 20 pins off her average. While not too bad of a game for the Hawks, the Tigers were 11 pins better.



UMES also had heartbreak in the third game as they took on No. 14 Valparaiso. The Crusaders eked out a one-pin win 880-879 as both teams left numerous opens. UMES held a slim lead late and the match came down to the anchors. Alvarado had a good game, shooting 223, but in the tenth she grabbed seven on her first ball. She left the 3-6-10 and on the spare she missed and left the ten-pin standing. Valpo, whose anchor struggled all match, made her spare and needed six to tie the match on the fill ball. She got seven and secured the win over the second-ranked Hawks.

While Alvarado was easily the highest scoring bowler in the match, the rest of the lineup wasn't their usual selves. Buja tossed a respectable 181 and Pelayo a solid 177, but Riggin struggled again with a 152 and substitute Justyne Falbo (Greensburg, Pa.) was off her mark with a 146.

On the positive, UMES picked up three more wins, including a couple against some well-ranked schools.

In between the losses, the Hawks breezed past No. 3 Central Missouri. The Jennies struggled all day and finished day two in eighth place. UMES tossed a 943, easily besting UCM by 57 pins as they tallied an 886. Riggin, who struggled in the first and third matches tossed an impressive 227 that included six strikes. A four-bagger came in the fifth through the eighth frames. Buja was again steady with a 192. She was the second highest Hawk bowler in the first three games. She posted five strikes along the way in game two.

Pelayo shot a 189 while Munoz got back on track to the tune of a 180. Alvarado was the surprise, mustering just a 155, opening in four frames. Luckily her teammates were solid and UCM had a tough go to help with the Hawk win.

Games four and five looked like the nation's second-ranked team was bowling. UMES took on the host Panthers of Prairie View A&M in match four. Alvarado tossed a 215, Pelayo a 212 and Buja 188. Munoz and Victoria Jones (Baltimore, Md.) had a 184 and 180 respectively. With everyone shooting 180 or above, UMES cruised to a 979-786 win. Alvarado was clean with five strikes, while Pelayo, who opened in the fourth, threw a hambone (four strikes in a row) in frames eight, nine and ten.

The Hawks saved their biggest win for the fifth game. Taking on the sixth-ranked Huskers of Nebraska, who finished second after two days, the Hawks dominated, handing Big Red just their third loss of the tournament. While no one shot above 202, it was the team effort that paid off. Both Buja and Munoz posted a 202, Alvarado a 200 and Pelayo a 198. Jones tossed a 192. When 192 is the low, you should win and UMES did that with a 994 game. Nebraska was good, with a 961, but the 33 pin win gave the Hawks some momentum heading into the final day.

In the match the Hawks combined for 21 strikes, including five each from Munoz and Pelayo.

For the two days UMES tallied an 8530 and are in fifth, 54 pins behind fourth place Vanderbilt who is 7-3. Arkansas State leads the pack with 9,026 and an 8-2 record. Nebraska is second with 8,681 pins and is 7-3. Red-hot Sam Houston State is third in pinfall with an 8,667 and is 9-1 overall.

Trailing UMES is Stephen F. Austin in sixth, Valparaiso in seventh, Central Missouri in eighth and Norfolk State in ninth. NSU is just 1-9 but despite the record stands above Jackson State, Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M who round out the field.

The Invitational starts back tomorrow morning with best four-of-seven Baker games starting at 8:30 a.m. CT. UMES will face Norfolk State first, the only team they have not played so far, beginning bracket play afterwards. The USBC is live streaming the event on BowlTV. www.youtube.com/bowltv.

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