T'nia Falbo helps the ball hook at the 2013 NCAA Championships. She would finish individually in fourth place.

April 11, 2013

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CANTON, Mich. - The Hawks earned the fifth seed in the 2013 NCAA Women's Bowling Championship tonight after finishing the evening block a perfect 3-0. That was the same seed they were last year when the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) claimed their third NCAA Championship.

The top eight teams bowled today for seeding and while UMES struggled early, going 0-3, they rebounded to win their last four, elevating themselves to the fifth spot. They will take on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the No 4 seed tomorrow morning. This is the Warhawks first appearance in the NCAA Championships.

While the record wasn't want they wanted UMES never bowled bad. Along with top seed Nebraska, the two powerhouse programs were the only two to break 7,000 in pinfall. The Hawks tallied 7,154 pins while the Huskers knocked down 7,201, just 47 pins more.

"The break did us so much good," said interim head coach Kristina Frahm. "We were never bowling bad, you can tell by pinfall, but we weren't ourselves. We relaxed, got a change of scenery and came back ready to bowl."

The Hawks returned from their dinner break relaxed and refreshed and it showed. They took on Sam Houston State and punished the Bearkats. UMES used a 259 from First-Team All-American Anggie Ramirez (Bogota, Colombia) and a 224 from another All-American Kristie Lopez (Ponce, Puerto Rico) to blast SHSU by 242 pins, 1038-796. The Bearkats score was the lowest total of the day for any team.

Sam Houston though had a solid outing, going 5-2 on the day and getting the third seed via tiebreaker.

Next up for the Hawks were the rival Commodores of Vanderbilt. UMES also rolled past them. Lopez flirted with 300, crushing the first eight frames with strikes, but got just six in the ninth frame to finish with a 266 for the high game of the day. T'nia Falbo (Greensburg, Pa.) was also on. Falbo spared her first frame, then struck the next seven frames before throwing a beauty of a shot in the ninth, leaving a hard eight pin standing in the middle. She finished with a 258. Mariana Alvarado (Leon, Mexico) didn't miss the party either, tossing a 240 game. The Hawks easily soared past Vandy 1145-931. The 1145 was the highest game shot on the day and only one of two over 1,100.

Vanderbilt would finish the day 2-5 and earn the seven seed.

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of day one was the University of Central Missouri. The No. 1 overall seed, the Jennies struggled head-to-head. While pinfall wasn't an issue UCM never got over the hump and finished 0-7 to earn the eighth seed.

UMES gave them their final loss of the day, 1026-898, getting a 210 from Megan Buja (Rockford, Ill.), a 215 from Ramirez and a 235 from Falbo.

Fairleigh Dickinson, who was the eighth and final team to make the championship, earned the two seed at 5-2. They lost the tiebreaker to Nebraska on pinfall but topped SHSU to get the second spot.

The high pinfalls meant that several UMES bowlers stood among the leaderboards at the end of the team games. Falbo was fourth overall averaging a 212 while Buja dropped to seventh with a 208.6 average. Ramirez followed her in eighth with a 207.4. UMES and Nebraska were the only schools with three bowlers in the top ten. Alvarado was 14th averaging a 197, giving UMES the honor of having four bowlers in the top 15, no other school could match that.

Lopez, who bowled six of the seven games, averaged a 203.3 to sit in 28th place in order of total pinfall.

Bracket play begins tomorrow at 11:40 a.m. The matchups are:

No. 1 Nebraska vs. No 8. Central Missouri
No 2. Fairleigh Dickinson vs. No 7. Vanderbilt
No 3. Sam Houston State vs. No 6. Arkansas State
No 4. Wisconsin-Whitewater vs. No 5. Maryland Eastern Shore

If UMES wins they face the winner of Nebraska and Central Missouri. They need to win four matches tomorrow to secure a spot in the finals.

"In this field everybody is great," said Frahm. "But we have a good chance, we bowl match play well, so we will see how it plays out tomorrow."

In the Baker format, each of the five team members, in order, bowls a complete frame until a complete (10-frame) game is bowled. A Baker match tied 3½ games to 3½ games after seven games will be decided by a tiebreaker using the Modified Baker format.

The championship final will air on ESPNU Saturday, April 13 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Limited tickets are available and can be purchased at Super Bowl Lanes. A tape delay broadcast of the championship finals will air on ESPN Sunday, April 14 from 2 - 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time.



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