April 11, 2009

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Courtesy of Nebraska Athletics

CANTON, Mich. - The Nebraska bowling team was crowned the 2009 NCAA National Bowling Champion on Saturday night at Super Bowl Lanes in Canton, Mich. The Huskers earned an unprecedented third national title in six seasons. The Huskers defeated Central Missouri State University, 4-1, for the crown.

With the 2009 NCAA Championship title, Nebraska has captured five national titles (three NCAA and two IBC) since the program was elevated to varsity status in the 1997-98 season. Coach Bill Straub has guided the program to eight national titles overall since Nebraska’s days as a club sport. Nebraska’s bowling title marks the first for any sport at Nebraska during the 2008-09 season.

Junior Cassandra Leuthold, anchor for the NU team, was named the Most Outstanding Player in the 2009 Championships.

The Huskers are no strangers to Central Missouri State University, as the two teams met in both 2004 and 2005 at the NCAA finals. NU prevailed in both years for its first two NCAA Championship titles.

Nebraska commanded the lead early in the first game with a 200-185 win over Central Missouri. However, NU left several open frames in the second game and fell, 149-198, to the Jennies. The Huskers picked up momentum again in the third game with a 201-168 win over UCM.

In the fourth game, freshmen Danielle van der Meer and Valerie Calberry came out strong in the eighth and ninth frames with two strikes in a row, setting Central Missouri down 31 pins as Leuthold entered the tenth frame. The Huskers defeated UCM in the fourth, 201-177, and led Central Missouri 3-1 heading into the fifth game.

The Huskers came out swinging in the fifth game, as sophomore Katie Ann Sopp rolled her third strike in five frames. Van der Meer and Calberry earned two more strikes for the Huskers in the third and fourth frames. Nebraska held tight to the momentum and defeated UCM, 190-135, in game five for the title.

Three Huskers earned National Tenpin Coaches Association All-America honors, including three-time All-American Cassandra Leuthold and first-time honorees Valerie Calberry and Danielle van der Meer.

Leuthold was named a first-team NTCA All-American for the second-consecutive season after a stellar junior year, which included a total regular-season pinfall of 11,186 over 56 games played. Leuthold also held an average of 199.70 on the regular season.

Both Calberry and van der Meer earned third-team NTCA All-America honors. Calberry held a 193.90 average over 52 games in the regular season, while van der Meer rolled a 199.40 average over 46 games.