Women’s Bowling: ‘Hawks achieve historic finish

 

April 16, 2014

By Ashley McCallum

The UW-Whitewater women’s bowling team made history this weekend when it placed third at the NCAA Bowling Championships on April 11.

Third place is not only the highest placing for the Warhawks, but for any Division-III bowling team ever.

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Ashley Bell

“You’re treated like royalty when you’re out there by the NCAA,” senior Ashley Bell said. “It was an experience I will never be able to forget. This is something I will carry with me for my entire life.”

The ’Hawks were seeded fourth out of eight teams after going 3-4 in qualifying rounds on April 10. Maryland Eastern-Shore earned the No. 1 seed, and tournament champion Sam Houston State were seeded last.

The ’Hawks’ first opponent was fifth-seeded Farleigh Dickinson, who they beat in qualifying rounds the day before.

History repeated itself as the Warhawks rolled away with the first-round win, 4-1.

Meanwhile, the Sam Houston State Bearkats upset Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks making the next round a match-up between the Bearkats and the Warhawks.

In order to grab a sure spot in the semifinals, the Warhawks needed to beat the Bearkats, who turned things around after going 2-5 in qualifying.

The first two games went to the Bearkats, but the ’Hawks got an opportunity to steal the momentum after the Bearkats bowled two consecutives 175 games.

With the match at 2-2, the ’Hawks came close to a match win, but lost the next two games by nine and five points, giving the Bearkats the guaranteed spot on semifinal lanes.

“This tournament we had more team chemistry than we did all year long,” Bell said.

The journey for a national championship for the Warhawks was not over yet.

A win against third-seeded Vanderbilt would put the ’Hawks into the other semifinal against the reigning national champion Nebraska Cornhuskers.

The ’Hawks seized their second chance at keeping their season alive by sweeping Vanderbilt in four games.

“Every match that we won meant one more game, one more hour that we get to keep bowling for that title,” Bell said.

At the start of the 2013-14 season, the Warhawks pinned Nebraska and Vanderbilt as their two biggest opponents.

Fresh off a win against Vanderbilt and after defeating Nebraska in qualifying rounds, the ’Hawks appeared to have a strong chance at taking down last year’s NCAA victor but fell short, losing to Nebraska, 3-2.

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Katie Zwiefelhofer

“All I wanted was to go to the title match against SHS [Sam Houston State], but luck wasn’t on our side,” senior Katie Zwiefelhofer said.

This was the second appearance at the national tournament for the Warhawks.

Last year, the ’Hawks were cut after two matches and placed seventh overall.

The team’s visit to Ohio brought more success beyond its third-place finish.

Zwiefelhofer was named Division-II/Division-III Player of the Year and earned a spot on the  Second Team All-American.

Freshman Amanda Van Duyn was named Division-II/Division-III Rookie of the Year and National Tenpin Coaches Association Honorable Mention.

“It was the biggest surprise,” Zwiefelhofer said. “I had a pretty good season and was proud of myself. It was a really great feeling. My four years of hard work paid off.”

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