UMES wins MEAC title, completes regular season with 10 tournament wins
CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- Maryland-Eastern Shore dominated Hampton 4-0 on Sunday to claim its sixth Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship (MEAC) in front of packed house at AMF Lanes in Chesapeake, Va.
"I am so proud of these young ladies," head coach Kristina Frahm said. "They never put their head down, never got down on themselves or stopped believing they would win this. We struggled a little yesterday with the Florida A&M match but they kept up their spirits and going into this match they were very confident they could win."
The match was recorded for airing by ESPNU to air on April 1 at 10:30 p.m. ET
Hampton University pulled another upset early Sunday to get to the final. The seventh -seeded Pirates rolled past the third-seeded Rattlers of Florida A&M 4-1 to earn a chance against the Hawks.
UMES loaded up on experience in its lineup as Frahm called on her seniors to fill the critical positions. Valentina Collazos would lead-off, Anggie Ramirez would bowl fourth and just as she has all year, T'nia Falbo would anchor. Megan Buja, a junior, would bowl second and sophomore Mariana Alvarado would bowl third. That five has bowled on some of the world's biggest stages and four are no strangers to television, which can drastically affect rhythm and momentum of a match. While Frahm would make minor adjustments along the way, the lineup would remain intact throughout the match.
Game 1 saw Collazos open with a strike and Buja follow with a spare. The Hawks then threw six strikes in a row until Ramirez spared and Falbo struck.
With the match in hand, freshman Kristie Lopez got her first championship action with a seven and spare. UMES looked impressive with a 248. But Hampton bowled well marking in every frame but the 10th and threw five strikes along the way for a 203.
Game 2 was a little uglier. The Hawks left three opens in the match, two from Buja including a big four in the seventh frame, and one from Alvarado, but they opened with five strikes in the first six frames, including a lucky wobble from Collazos in the sixth, that allowed them to post a 189. Hampton wasn't as lucky, rolling five opens, including splits in the eighth and tenth to tally just a 141.
Game 3 was more like the first for the Hawks, bowling on the left lane. They marked every frame, including a four-bagger in the sixth through ninth to post an impressive 234. Hampton got better, getting a strike in the ninth and two in the 10th, but their first strike didn't come until the sixth frame and they missed three one-pin spares, totaling 170 and giving UMES a 64-pin win and a 3-0 lead.
The final match saw UMES cruise again. They tossed five strikes, suffered a couple of opens and totaled 190. Hampton never struck, getting six spares but mounting just a 145, allowing UMES to claim their sixth conference championship.
NCAT's Emily Strombeck, FAMU's Katherine Jones, Hampton's Rebecca Galzier, and the Hawks' Anggie Ramirez and T'nia Falbo all earned All-Tournament honors while Ramirez was named the Tournament's Most Valuable Performer.
"It was always my dream since I was MEAC Rookie of the Year to be MEAC Player of the Year. Now that I won this and MVP of the tournament, I am so happy that my dream could come true," said Ramirez.
Head Coach Kristina Frahm was named the Championship's Most Outstanding Coach.
"It's an honor to receive the award, but the girls did all of the work, they deserve all the credit for this championship," Frahm said.
"[The team was] talking last night that this was the year to win MEACs again and we know that we could win [Sunday] and then go on to try and win NCAAs again," Ramirez said.
If they earn another at-large bid to the NCAA Championships, UMES will travel to the championships for the 10th consecutive year, this time in Canton, Mich. The week after that, UMES has already earned a berth in the USBC Collegiate Championship in Lincoln, Neb.