Bowling turns in its second-best performance

The bowling team celebrates being selected for NCAA Bowling Regionals. Photos by Dylan Lux / The Jambar

By John Ostapowicz

The Youngstown State University bowling team fell short in the fourth round of the Southland Bowling Championships in Rowlett, Texas, March 24 to 25. 

Heading into the competition, head coach Doug Kuberski was named Southland Bowling Coach of the Year on March 23 for the second time in his four-year tenure at Youngstown State. 

The fourth-seeded Penguins dropped their opening match, 2-0 against the fifth-ranked Sam Houston State University. Despite posting the third-highest totals on the lanes, Youngstown State lost in traditional as well as Baker matches, 1,085-1,045 and 1,083-1,060, respectively. 

Over two games, senior Megan Grams led the Penguins in traditional format by averaging 240.

Individually, junior Kristen Moore tied the highest score on the lanes with a 237, while Grams walked away with eight strikes, totaling 233. 

With the loss, the team battled it out against Valparaiso University in the elimination match. Youngstown State won the traditional match, while the Beacons fought back in the Baker match forcing a best-of-seven tiebreaker. 

In the tiebreaker, the Penguins won, 4-1 after splitting their first two games. Off the bench, sophomore Madison Doseck moved into the leadoff spot which led Youngstown State to win its final three games. 

Youngstown State finished match two with a 2-1 victory and prepared for match three against the top-seeded Vanderbilt University on the second day of competition. 

In match three against the Commodores, the Penguins started off with a tough loss in traditional matches but bounced back in the Baker match to force another best-of-seven series. Vandy won the traditional point 1,050-985, while Grams continued her solid play, bowling a 274. 

Grams struck nine times in the match and recorded her best total of the season. For her dominant performance over the two days of competition, Grams was named to the Southland Bowling League All-Tournament Team on March 26. 

The honors marks the third time in program history that a Penguin has earned All-Tournament Team honors at the Southland Championship. Grams joins an exclusive group of former Penguins: Emma Dockery and Emma Wrenn. 

“It was nice to be considered for that award,” Grams said. “I was just staying in my own head and just focused, making the best shots I could.”

Over the final three games in the Baker match, the team averaged 206 pins. Youngstown State managed to flip a 30-pin deficit in game three to earn the slight advantage. 

The team went on to win both game four and five by 14 and one points respectively, to even the match.

In the tiebreaker, the Penguins trailed 3-1, but quickly turned things around over three games to force a game seven. 

Youngstown State headed into match four with high hopes, but fell short against the sixth-ranked Louisiana Tech University, 2-0. 

Despite the fourth-match loss, the team turned in its second-best performance in program history at the Rowlett Bowlarama. 

The NCAA announced March 29 that Youngstown State qualified for the regionals. Kuberski is pleased with the team and how hard they have worked throughout the season. 

“We had a talk today in practice on how difficult it really is to put ourselves in this position,” Kuberski said. 

The bowling team will be back in action at the NCAA Bowling Regionals against Maryville University of St. Louis on April 7 and 8.