Rolling into national semifinals

YSU Bowling has clinched a spot in the Final Four for the second time in five years. Photo courtesy of YSU bowling.

By Madeline Hippeard / The Jambar

The Youngstown State University bowling team will compete in the national semifinals April 12 in Allen Park, Michigan. The team qualified for the tournament following its win at the NCAA Lansing Regional tournament in the National Collegiate Bowling Championship from April 5 and 6.

This is the second time in program history the Penguins will compete in the national semifinals. The team’s first appearance was during the 2021 season.

Fifth-year senior Megan Grams said although the Penguins have competed in the Lansing Regional Tournament in the past, the team considers each year a new opportunity for success.

“It’s a blessing to be in the NCAA bowling D1,” Grams said. “It’s still really cool and stuff, but also we do have a very seasoned team. So, at the same time, it’s business yet it’s a blessing, and we’re really excited to be there at the same time.”

The ’Guins began the tournament with a 2-0 record on Day One, with wins against Marian University and Maryville University of St. Louis.

During the traditional round against Marian, the two teams remained within a few pins of each other throughout the majority of the match. In the final frame, junior Ellie Drescher bowled a turkey for the ’Guins, helping lead them to a 900-830 victory.

The Penguins continued to overpower the Sabres in the Baker round, defeating them 975-929.

After winning against Marian, Youngstown State defeated Maryville, 2-0.

In the traditional match, the ’Guins trailed until senior Kristen Moore threw a turkey in the tenth frame, sending them to a 1,046-1,036 victory.

Throughout the Baker round, the Penguins and the Saints remained neck and neck. Despite a close match, Youngstown State remained on top, defeating Maryville, 1,025-1,019.

On Day Two of the tournament, the ’Guins faced the University of Nebraska for the championship.

Youngstown State lost its first match of the tournament in the traditional round, 921-864.

Head coach Doug Kuberski said the Penguins like to keep a simple, straight forward mindset during tournaments.

“We know that no matter who you bowl in this, they’re all challenges, they’re all battles. These teams are all talented and very well coached and all good teams. We know we have to stay focused and focus on our process and our work and just keep it simple,” Kuberski said.

Grams led the Penguins’ effort in the traditional round with a high score of 201. Grams was one of two bowlers to break 200 for either team.

The ’Guins trailed for the majority of the Baker match. However, the team fought back to end the Baker round in a 1,003-1,003 tie, forcing a roll off. Despite its comeback, Youngstown State was unable to overcome Nebraska in the roll off, resulting in a 138-117 loss.

Although Youngstown State lost the first match against Nebraska, the Penguins were given a final chance to defeat them in a winner-takes-all, best-of-seven Baker match.

Nebraska won the opening game, 168-165, but the ’Guins answered by winning the next three games in the series with scores of 243-234, 199-180 and 157-150. Then, the Huskers won game five, 197-189. Game six in the series was tight, but Youngstown State ultimately came up on top with a score of 173-170.

With four wins under their belts, the Penguins won the best-of-seven Baker match and the Lansing Regional Tournament.

Youngstown State bowling team advances to the national semifinals as one of the four remaining teams in the NCAA National Collegiate Bowling Championship.

Joining the Penguins in the national semifinals are Jacksonville State University, Arkansas State University and Sam Houston State University.

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