BALTIMORE, Md. — While the NCAA does not track career wins by women’s bowling coaches, it doesn’t take an official record book to realize that few have ever reached the milestone that New Jersey City University head coach Frank Parisi achieved on Friday. The No. 9-ranked Gothic Knights went 4-1 on day one of the three-day Morgan State Invitational and Parisi earned his 600th career coaching victory in only his 11th season at the helm of NJCU.
Parisi, who has led NJCU to four national semifinal appearances in the last seven years, earned his 600th career win in the final match of the day against Howard University to increase his career record to 600-264-3 (.692).
The Gothic Knights improved their season record to 65-26 (.714). NJCU is in sixth place among 19 schools with a pinfall of 3,647 after the opening day of the tournament. All five matches on day one were competed under the quad-Baker format.
NJCU opened the day with a 686-651 win against rival Saint Peter’s 686-651 before suffering a 744-738 loss to No. 3 Nebraska. The Knights bounced back by trouncing fellow Division III school Elmhurst 713-633. In the fourth match, NJCU rallied for a 737-701 win against No. 18 Florida A&M. Parisi, who entered the day with 596 wins, then got the milestone in NJCU’s 773-684 decision against Howard.
No. 1-ranked Maryland Eastern Shore leads the field with 3,967 pins and a 5-0 record. No. 12 Vanderbilt is second (3,934, 4-1) and No. 8 Sacred Heart is third (3,933, 4-1). Nebraska sits in fourth (3,909, 4-0) with No. 17 Delaware State in fifth place (3,694, 2-3). The Hornets are 57 pins in front of NJCU.
NJCU started a Baker lineup featuring junior Amy Brehm leading off, followed by freshman Nicole Baginsky in the No. 2 position and sophomore Kelly Daunno in the bridge role. Junior Jennifer Daunno set up for senior Nicole Drejerwski, the reigning NCAA Division III National Player of the Year, in the anchor spot. Freshman Ashley Johnson subbed in and played in 2.5 games in place of Baginsky.
In the opening match, SPC won the opening game, 157-142 before the Knights took game two, 195-144 for a 337-301 lead in the match. The Peahens responded with a 215-160 margin in game three and took a 516-497 lead heading to the final game. But NJCU prevented both the upset and a rare loss to its city rival by winning game four by 54 pins, 189-135, to claim the match 686-651.
In the first meeting of the season between NJCU and Nebraska — two of the four schools that have qualified for every NCAA championship in history — it was a typical, back-and-forth battle between the two long-time powers. Nebraska won game one, 187-158 before the Knights answered in game two 181-136 to claim a 329-323 lead halfway through the contest. The three-time NCAA champion Huskers bettered NJCU in a high-scoring third game 245-213 for a 568-552, 16-pin lead heading into the final game. But while NJCU took the fourth game 186-176 the Knights fell six pins shy of toppling the Division I power 744-738.
In a matchup of the only two Division III schools in the 19-team field, NJCU remained unbeaten all-time (5-0) against up-and-coming Elmhurst College 713-633. NJCU rolled game scores of 155-198-190-170 and had higher scores than the Blue Jays (144-167-163-159) in all four games.
In the fourth match, NJCU needed its highest game score of the afternoon, a 223, to rally for a 737-701 win over the 18th ranked Rattlers. FAMU took a 47-pin lead after winning game one, 218-171. NJCU cut it to a 359-335 deficit, taking game two, 164-141, but after FAMU edged the Knights in game three by two pins, 181-179, the Knights still trailed by 26 pins (540-514) with one game remaining. That’s an often impossible deficit to make up in one game, but NJCU was up for the challenge, tossing a 223. FAMU rolled a 161 and the Knights won the game by 62 pins to rally for a 36-pin victory. Baginsky subbed back into the match in the middle of game three to give the Knights a spark off the bench.
The milestone 600th win for Parisi was an easy win for NJCU, 773-684, which outscored the Bison in all four games. NJCU had totals of 200-183-199-191. Howard finished with scores of 179-159-156-190.