Fairleigh Dickinson grabs No. 1 seed
Knights are top seed following Thursday’s qualifying
TAYLOR, Mich. -- Fairleigh Dickinson began competition at the 2011 NCAA National Championship at Skore Lanes in Taylor, Mich. on April 14. The Knights captured a number one seed after going 6-1 on the day.
The Knights faced Arkansas State in the first match of the day. The Knights took an early lead with strikes from Tracy Ganjoin, Meghan Kelly and Joely Carrillo in the first frame. Ganjoin and Kelly both threw three-consecutive strikes to leads the Knights to a 100 pin lead after five frames.
FDU recorded four out of five possible strikes in both the sixth and seventh frames to amass an 819-693 lead after eight frames. The Knights went on the defeat the Red Wolves, 1,067-929. FDU was led by Michigan native, Sara Litteral who bowled a 223 just minutes from home. Ganjoin and Kelly both added 211 for the Knights, while sophomore Danielle McEwan shot a 214 and Carrillo scored 208.
In match two the Knights faced Northeast Conference foe, Kutztown University. Ganjoin started hot for the Knights, stringing together six-consecutive strikes. High games of 248 from Ganjoin and 236 from Litteral led the Knights to a 1,097-934 win. Carrillo added 214 for the Knights while McEwan scored a 204 and Kelly recorded 195 to help the Knights improve to 2-0.
The third competitor for the Knights was The University of Maryland Eastern Shore. UMES was hot off a 1,240-904 win over Sam Houston State. McEwan and Litteral led the Knights with scores of 213 and 206, respectively, but UMES outscored FDU, 995-945, handing the Knights their only loss of the day.
The Knights took on Vanderbilt University in the final match of the morning session. The Commodores took control of the game early on but the Knights did not back down. After trailing 445-376 through the fourth frame, the Knights chipped away at the VU lead to cut it to 877-871 after the ninth frame.
After a strong tenth frame from the Commodores and the Knights, VU led by one pin going into the anchor's tenth frame. McEwan threw two strikes to begin the tenth and watched as Vanderbilt was unable to strike. The Knights took their third win of the day with a 1,039-1,031 victory. Ganjoin led the Knights by tying her career-high score of 279. Litteral and McEwan added scores of 204 and 202, respectively.
After the lunch break the Knights took on The University of Nebraska. The Corn Huskers, three-time NCAA National Champions and runners-up in the 2010 NCAA National Championship, were 3-1 prior to facing FDU.
Four strikes in the second frame gave the Knights an initial lead. With help from a string of strikes from Litteral, the Knights were able to hold onto their lead through the sixth frame. Nebraska continued to chip away at the deficit and by the end of the eighth frame had tied the game at 767 pins a piece.
After an open frame from the Knights, Nebraska took the lead in the ninth frame. After four bowlers had throw in the tenth frame, it was déjà-vu for the Knights as they were down by one pin going into McEwan's tenth frame.
McEwan was able to throw a spare to earn a fill frame and knock down nine pins in her last attempt to give the Knights the victory, 1,027-1,020. Litteral recorded seven-straight strikes for a final score of 244 to lead FDU to their fourth win of the day. McEwan and Kelly each added scores of 213, while Ganjoin shot a 205 at the lead-off position.
The Knights faced Sam Houston State, a first-time NCAA National Championship qualifier in the sixth match of the day. FDU struggled out of the gate, enabling the BearKats to take the lead in the second frame.
Ganjoin started the third frame with a strike and was followed by Kelly, Litteral and Carrillo. Although SHSU also strung four strikes in the third frame, the Knights would use the momentum to swing the game in their favor.
The Knights created the opportunity to take the lead in the fifth inning when Kelly picked up her fourth-consecutive 'X', Carrillo grabbed her third and McEwan scored a double. By the end of the seventh frame the Knights has created an 80 pin lead and continued to excel.
Behind a season-high score of 256 from Kelly the Knights took the win over Sam Houston State, 1,100-900. Ganjoin aided in the win with a 235, while Litteral added a 213 and Carrillo recorded a 209.
In the final match of the qualifying round, the Knights took on Central Missouri. The Jennies took a seven-pin lead in the first two frames but were met with a third-consecutive strike from Ganjoin. Ganjoin's streak sparked the Knights who saw strikes from Litteral, Carrillo and McEwan in the third frame. The Knights led, 224-206 going into the fourth frame.
All five Knights bowled consistently to help maintain the lead through the final game of day one. With scores of 225 from Ganjoin, 214 from Carrillo, 204 from Kelly and 200 from McEwan the Knights took their sixth win of 2011 NCAA National Championship play and secured the number one spot.
Ganjoin led the Knights in traditional play with an average of 224.6. She was ranked second among the tournament's 56 bowlers. Litteral finished fourth in the individual standings with an average of 214.7. Kelly rounded out the Knights' top-ten finishers with an average of 209.2.
The Knights will face Kutztown University in the opening round of Friday's competition. The match will begin at 9:45 am and can be seen live on NCAA.com.