HACKENSACK, N.J. – Valparaiso was voted as the top ranked team in the 2011 December national poll conducted by the membership of National Tenpin Coaches Association, the coaches alliance of NCAA participating women’s bowling programs.

Pos. School Pts.
1. Valparaiso 582
2. Fairleigh Dickinson 580
3. Sacred Heart 554
4. Maryland-Eastern Shore 518
5. Sam Houston State 505
• Complete rankings, click here

The Crusaders (30-8, 0.790) improved 17 places in the rankings and nipped Fairleigh Dickinson University of Teaneck, NJ by only two points.

Since the beginning of the season, Valparaiso, which collected eight first place votes, competed in three events, resulting in two championships and a third-place finish. The Crusaders bested the eight-team field at the UCM Greater Ozark Invitational and the nine-team field at the VU Crusader Classic. Valpo’s third-place finish occurred at the 19-team UMES Hawk Classic.

Just as strong out of the blocks was second-ranked Fairleigh Dickinson.

The Knights (45-12, 0.790), who garnished six first-place votes, participated in five events this season. FDU won the 12-team B-CU Wildcat Invitational, won the 18-team FDU N.J. Jamboree, finished second at the UMES Hawk Classic, finished third at the 11-team VUU Invitational iand sits in second place in the Northeast Conference after one meet.

The third-ranked team, Sacred Heart, received four first-place votes and jumped six spots in the poll. The Pioneers are in first place in the Northeast Conference, finished in second place at the VUU Invitational, ended in fourth at the FDU NJ Jamboree, and finished up in sixth place at the UMES Hawk Classic.

Maryland-Eastern Shore, the defending NCAA national champions, was ranked fourth. The Hawks (37-9, 0.804) are perched in first place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference North Division with a 20-0 record after two meets. UMES, which received four first-place votes, also competed at the FDU N.J. Jamboree and the UMES Hawk Classic, ending in fifth place and fourth place, respectively.

Moving up two spots to No. 5 since the last poll was Sam Houston State. The Bearkats (40-13, 0.755) competed in four intercollegiate tournaments. SHSU closed out the first half by winning the title at the 14-team SHSU Track Kat Klash. The Kats also brought home some hardware at the UCM Greater Ozark Invitational and at the FDU N.J. Jamboree with third-place finishes, and ended in seventh at the UMES Hawk Classic in their only other appearance.