Feb. 18, 2010

Courtesy of N.J. City Athletics

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. - So much for being the new kids on the block. The New Jersey City University women’s bowling team, in its first year as an associate member of the Division I Northeast Conference, made sure its maiden voyage in the league would be a memorable one as the Gothic Knights went a perfect 7-0 in match play and captured the 2010 NEC regular season championship, on February 13 and 14 in the second conference meet of the year.

NJCU, ranked No. 9 nationally among Division I, II and III institutions, and winners of 18 of its last 19 matches dating to January 29, improved its record to 53-23 (.697) and claimed the NEC regular season crown with an impressive 12-2 record (.857 percentage)—a three-win advantage over second place Kutztown University.

The Gothic Knights will be the #1 overall seed in the NEC Championship. The double-elimination championship tournament will be held March 19-21 in Elmwood Park, NJ. In the format, which is identical to the NCAA Championship, featuring best 4-of-7 Baker matches, NJCU will meet #8 seeded Long Island University in the opening round.

Kutztown is the #2 seed. Adelphi University and St. Francis College each finished the regular season at 8-6, while Fairleigh Dickinson University and Sacred Heart University—who along with SFC and LIU are full members of the NEC in all sports—tied for fifth at 7-7. Saint Peter's College was seventh, followed by LIU.

On day one of the two-day NEC event on February 13, NJCU was 4-0. The Knights opened with a 1417-1207, 210-pin win over Saint Peter’s before cruising past #12 ranked Kutztown, 1363-1241. The Knights posted a come-from-behind, 1348-1276 victory over #7 Adelphi before routing #10 St. Francis, 1484-1220.

On day two of the conference meet on February 14, NJCU posted an enormous win over long-time rival and #4 ranked FDU, prevailing 1345-1316. The Knights held off #17 Sacred Heart, 1397-1380 before planting a lopsided, 357-pin win over LIU, to complete the perfect 7-0 weekend.

“All six players are bowling very well,” noted 10th year head coach FRANK PARISI. “They’re all comfortable right now with the game plan and the philosophy we have, and they’re working well together as a team, communicating with each other and the coaching staff with information about lane conditions and concerns they have. This helps our comfort level and helps them make the correct adjustments. They have a lot of confidence in themselvesindividually and each other and this is leading to our success."

Eighth-year assistant coach RUSTY THOMSEN said: “This may be the best and most clutch weekend in the history of the team. It’s the result of extremely hard work, heart,character, determination and a great team chemistry that gets stronger each tournament.”

Individually, junior NICOLE DREJERWSKI (Levittown, PA/Conwell-Egan Catholic) had a remarkable day, posting a seven-game average of 215.29 and 1507 total pinfall (277-197-184-225-195-234-195). The 277 was the team single high game of the year.

Sophomore JENNIFER DAUNNO (Carteret, NJ/Carteret) had a seven-game average of 203.57 and pinfall of 1425 (202-223-185-225-214-161-215) while senior CANDICE D’ANGELO (Coram, NY/Longwood (NY) added a seven-game average of 200.57 and 1404 total wood (169-222-205-203-190-242-173).

In six games, senior anchor JENN MARMO (North Babylon, NY/North Babylon (NY)) collected a 188.83 average and 1133 pinfall (164-159-204-223-168-215), and was even better in Baker competition.

Sophomore AMY BREHM (East Brunswick, NJ/East Brunswick) had a 196.00 average in four games (214-190-172-208; 784) and freshman KELLY DAUNNO (Carteret, NJ/Carteret) collected a 187.75 average in four games (209-178-151-213; 751).

D’Angelo, who has been a part of some of NJCU’s greatest teams over the last four years, said: “I’m so proud of where we’re sitting right now. After receiving the current poll where we were ninth in the nation [down from eighth], it pushed us even more to prove that we should be recognized as a top team. We know we are, but we had to prove it to the nation. These past weekends are exactly what we needed, performing together as a team is a key factor in our quest toward nationals. We stepped up when necessary and are very happy with going 7-0 and being the number one seed at the NEC Championships.”

NJCU, which opened the event in a tie for first place in the NEC after going 5-2 at the November 14-15 conference meet, took on Saint Peter’s first. The NEC format consists of a five-person traditional game and two Baker games per match.

NJCU quickly put the Peahens away, leading 1021-846 after the traditional round, before rolling scores of 202-194 versus 174-187 for SPC, to win by 210 pins. Drejerwski, who posted NJCU’s top score of the season with a 277, rolled eight strikes to start, spared in the ninth, before adding two strikes and an eight in the final frame. NJCU improved to 3-1 against the Peahens this year.

Led by a 223 from Jennifer Daunno and 222 by D’Angelo NJCU, which defeated Kutztown for the fifth time in seven meetings this year, led 979-901 following traditional play. The Knights claimed Baker game one, 213-192, and cruised in game two, 171-148, winning by 122 pins.

NJCU and Adelphi have met four times this year and the season series is now even at 4-4. The Panthers led NJCU by 37 pins after traditional action, leading 966-929. But the Knights unleashed a 241 Baker game one while AU rolled a 160 as the momentum swung decisively in favor of NJCU, which grabbed a 34-pin lead, before putting the match away with a 178-150 advantage in Baker game two.

NJCU, now 3-0 versus St. Francis this year, enjoyed a rare feat in the victory. All five bowlers—Jennifer Daunno, Brehm, D’Angelo, Drejerwski and Marmo rolled 200 games—highlighted by 225 scores from Daunno and Drejerwski, as NJCU led by nearly 200 pins after traditional play, 1090-892, before rolling 206-180 in Baker. SFC tallied 168-160 as NJCU won by 264 pins, 1484-1220.

On February 14, NJCU held a 957-942, 15-pin margin over FDU after traditional action, led by a 214 from Daunno. NJCU distanced itself from FDU in Baker play, winning the opener 198-168 for a 45-pin cushion. FDU won Baker two, 206-190, but NJCU won the match by 29. NJCU and FDU have split the season series, 3-3.

NJCU improved to 3-1 this year against Sacred Heart, but the Pioneers made the Knights work for the victory in game six. D’Angelo uncorked a 242, Drejerwski a 234 and Marmo a 215, but the lead was just 11 pins, 1024-1013, after traditional play. The margin swelled to 52 after the first Baker game, which NJCU claimed 189-148. SHU opened the second Baker game with five strikes and NJCU struggled, with 134 pins on the board after eight frames. But Drejerwski spared in the ninth and Marmo proved clutch in the 10th frame, sealing a 17-pin victory by throwing three consecutive strikes in the 10th frame. The Pioneers won the final Baker game, 219-184, but NJCU took the match, 1397-1380.

NJCU—now 3-0 against LIU this year—claimed its most lopsided win against the Blackbirds, winning by 356 pins. Jennifer and Kelly Daunno paced NJCU with games of 215 and 213, while Brehm added a 208 as NJCU led 1004-695 entering Baker play, and rolled 167-208 to finish the match; LIU tallied 167-161 in Baker.

The NEC regular season champion Gothic Knights travel to Baltimore, MD for the Morgan State University Invitational on February 20-21. In all, 30 teams are scheduled to compete, which will make it the largest event in the NCAA this season.