By Yousof Hamza
The Youngstown State University women’s bowling team started the season off with a second-place finish at the MOTIV Penguin Classic at Holiday Bowl in Struthers.
This tournament consisted of five Baker’s matches and five traditional matches. This was the first major NCAA bowling tournament with spectators.
Arkansas State University won the meet with 13,459 pins over 69 matches. In the Sunday championship bracket, ASU won each of its rounds and beat YSU in the finals.
On Sunday, YSU lost to ASU in the first round of the tournament bracket. It then beat Duquesne University in the second round to advance to the finals, where it lost again to ASU.
YSU scored the most pins overall and the most pins per game with 13,806 pins over 70 games for a 197.2 pins per game.
YSU won 4 of 5 Baker’s matches and won all 5 of their traditional matches.
The team is coming off a fourth-place finish in the NCAA Bowling Championship last season and are looking to win it all this year. This tournament was a step in that direction and the team members feel they will continue to grow.
“I feel that after competing on the lanes together for the first time, we learned more about one another and how to help pick each other up. This tournament also helped us see how important our energy is not only for our own team, but how this can affect the opponent we’re facing,” junior Megan Grams said.
This event was the first large bowling tournament with spectators after the pandemic. Head coach Doug Kuberski loved the support of the fans and felt that it had a positive impact on everyone.
“The pins know when you’re loose and having fun, and our fans and their support certainly empower us in many ways,” he said.
While bowling is largely an individual sport, the team plays a huge support role.
“It’s an individual sport and it’s cool turning it into a team sport, kind of like golf — it’s a very tricky thing to do,” Kuberski said. “You want to balance that individual competitiveness with the team desires and dynamics. It’s tricky, so we work a lot together on team bonding and team dynamics.”
The team has helped freshman Ellie Drescher adapt to being away from her home in Texas.
“They make me feel at home, they make me feel safe, always asking me if I need anything, being very supportive,” she said.
Kuberski said the team doesn’t focus on the results of last season — players just focus on what’s ahead.