Megan Buja tossed 24 strikes on day one of the Music City Classic.

March 7, 2014

NASHVILLE - It was a frustrating day on the lanes for head coach Kayla Bandy as she watched her Lady Hawks struggle with consistency at the Music City Classic. While the talent on the roster still carried UMES to a 3-2 record, Bandy was frustrated with spare shooting and the team struggling to repeat shots. Even though she expects more, the Hawks are still in a good position, standing in sixth place overall, trailing first place by 353 pins.

UMES started out the day well. The Hawks rolled to an 841-674 pin win over Alabama A&M. The 167 pin win seemed promising and Bandy was able to get seven of the eight Hawks some action. UMES tossed a 220 and 230 in the win.

Match two, was a different outcome. Taking on seventh-ranked Sam Houston State, the Hawks struggled. They mustered just a 145 in game one. SHSU wasn't much better with a 157. Game two was better, UMES tossed a 192 to Sam Houston's 186. The six pin win in game two cut the match lead in half and UMES headed to game three. UMES played well with a 204 and bested the game by 19 pins. Now up 13 the Hawks just had to maintain but they couldn't.

Senior Megan Buja (Rockford, Ill.) who was solid in lead-off every time, tossed seven strikes and a spare over the four games in the match. The rest of the team however was inconsistent. Justyne Falbo (Greensburg, Pa.) Valerie Riggin (Vista, Calif.), Tatiana Munoz (Ibague Tolima, Colombia) and Mariana Alvarado (Leon, Mexico) rounded out the rest of the lineup and at times looked great and at times, not. Falbo came out in the third game after tossing just two spares in five frames. Victoria Jones (Baltimore, Md.) subbed in and finished up the match with two strikes and a spare to aid the cause. In that final match UMES started out hot. After Buja and Jones both struck, Riggin and Munoz spared before Alvarado struck in the fifth. UMES was poised for the win. Buja struck again in the sixth. Jones and Riggin both went nine-spare. Munoz picked up just six on her first ball but cleaned up to mark in the ninth. The pressure was again on the anchor Alvarado. Needing a strike in the tenth, she blew out the front for a six count split. She could pick up just two more and UMES finished with a respectable 196. It wasn't enough though as Sam Houston posted a 227. That 31 pin advantage in the fourth game gave them an 18 pin win 755-737.



There was no rest for the weary in the third match as UMES drew No. 5 Central Missouri. The Jennies took a commanding lead in game one with a 213-173 win. UMES rebounded to win game two 178-174, cutting the lead down to 40. UMES caught up again in the third with a 210-197 win. That 17-pin decision cut the lead down again to 27. UMES would then head to game four again in a position to win. Buja would spare the first frame of game four. Jones would then open in the second frame. Riggin picked her up with a spare in the third frame and Alvarado, moving down to the fourth position, would strike. Munoz would strike in the fifth. Buja spared the sixth frame and Jones redeemed her open with a strike. Riggin and Alvarado also threw strikes and UMES was catching up to Central Missouri. Needing a mark to win Munoz literally missed her mark and collected a terrible eight-split on the first ball of the tenth and then was unable to convert the difficult shot.

The Hawks finished with a 194. UCM finished game four with a 170. While UMES won three of the four games, the open in the tenth was costly. The Hawks lost by just three pins 758-755.

Next up the Hawks drew Jackson State. With Buja again leading off, Sara Pelayo (Distrito Federal, Mexico) now stepping into the second spot, Riggin in third, Alvarado staying at four and Munoz staying at five, UMES was able to secure the win. Dominating game one 181-153, UMES looked like they could ride the 28 pin lead till the end, but when the two teams switched lanes the outcome was reversed to 184-153 and Jackson State now was ahead by three pins. Heading into the third game of the match Buja would spare the opening frame. Pelayo then opened for the second straight shot. Riggin did too. Alvarado and Munoz tossed strikes to salvage the front half of the game. In the sixth frame Buja made it a turkey with three strikes in a row. Pelayo spared and Riggin struck. Alvarado also spared and Munoz spared too with Jones throwing the fill ball for a strike. It was a decent game for UMES who tossed a 194. Unfortunately the upstart Jackson State squad threw a 200 and extended their lead to nine pins.

In game four the veteran Hawks settled in. Bandy shook up the lineup with Alvarado opening the game with a spare. Jones and Riggin struck and Buja, now bowling in the fourth spot, spared. Munoz struck as well and UMES was rolling. Alvarado struck, Jones spared, Riggin and Buja struck and Munoz closed with a spare and a strike on the fill to finish with an impressive 227. Jackson State managed just a 155 and UMES easily wiped out the nine pins to win by 63.

UMES had to bowl a BYE in the fifth game and tossed a respectable 740.

In game six the Hawks cruised to 769-687 win over Louisiana Tech, winning each game with their best a 204 in the fourth. Bandy continued to juggle the lineup with Buja going back to lead-off, Falbo into the second spot, Jones at three, Riggin at four and Munoz at five.

UMES, who had lost just four Baker matches all season heading into this event, showed some tenacity and ability to change on day one, struggling through the tough lane patterns to find their way to a 3-2 record. The wins improve them to 72-16 on the season.

While the Hawks' best game of the day was their opening 841, only one game of the 174 thrown was above 900. That came from tournament leader Fairleigh Dickinson in their final game of the day. The Knights are 5-1 after one day. Vanderbilt, the tournament hosts have the same record and are in second place 81 pins out of first while Arkansas State stands 6-0 and is 96 pins out in third place. Stephen F Austin is in fourth with a 3-2 record and 220 pins out while Saint Francis (PA.) is making a statement in fifth place 281 pins out of first. UMES is sixth, Valparaiso is seventh, Wisconsin-Whitewater is eighth, Sacred Heart is ninth and Nebraska is tenth. The two teams UMES lost two, Central Missouri (5-1 on the day) and Sam Houston State (4-2 on the day) are 11th and 16th respectively. Fellow MEAC school North Carolina A&T is in 14th overall.

Action resumes tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. (ET) and coverage will be live for six team games on

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