No. 7 Fairleigh Dickinson leads NEC after going 6-2 at conference meet
WALLINGFORD, Conn. -- The Fairleigh Dickinson women's bowling team is in first place in the Northeast Conference standings after compiling a 6-2 record during NEC Meet No. 2 at Wallingford Bowl. The Knights are now 31-11 on the year and have a half-game lead on No. 10 Saint Francis (N.Y.) in the overall conference standings.
On Saturday, the Knights finished 2-2 in three five-game baker matches and one traditional game. FDU started the day 2-0 with victories over LIU Brooklyn (1,099-958) and St. Francis Brooklyn (1,102-1,074). In the contest with the Terriers, the final outcome was not decided until the last game. The effort took a lot of clutch performances, including freshman Melanie Hannon and junior Liat Vizenfeld striking out in the 10th frame.
FDU was then defeated by Kutztown, 1,037-1,034, in its final baker match of the day. Kutztown threw the final eight strikes of the match to nip the Knights at the end.
Now playing a traditional game, FDU was defeated by Saint Francis, 1,114-1,104. Vizenfeld paced the Knights with a 236 in the anchor position, while freshman Morgan Brown added a 227, with sophomore Nicolette Sarin, senior Michelle Hunzaker, and Hannon chipping in scores of 224, 220 and 197, respectively.
The Knights were outdueled in the 10th frame, as they had five workers going into the final frame but could only cash in on two, which was the difference in the match.
"I felt the pattern was too soft for this level of play at our conference," head coach Mike LoPresti said. "It ends up coming down to a striking contest rather than an execution contest. [Saturday], we were unable to throw as many strikes as other teams at certain times, especially in the last match with Saint Francis."
On Sunday, which consisted of all traditional games, FDU opened up with the hosts, Sacred Heart, and defeated the Pioneers, 1,020-958, behind Hannon's 242 and Brown's 227. The match was very tight until the very end thanks to Hannon doing a great job late in the game and Brown being the catalyst in the lead-off position and having a very strong finish.
The Knights then faced St. Francis in a lot closer match than the final score indicated which saw FDU win, 989-899. The game was tied going into the ninth frame, but a big finish and closing out the game well was the difference. Vizenfeld led the way with a 235, with Sarin and Brown adding scores of 214 and 203. Hunzaker was substituted into the competition late in the game and promptly threw two strikes in the final frame, while Hannon also added two strikes and an eight in the 10th.
In their third match, the Knights won a lopsided contest against LIU-Brooklyn, 1,042-870. FDU started out really hot and continued that play throughout the match. Hunzaker was on fire, shooting a 250, while Vizenfield was right behind with a 246. Hannon chipped in a 197.
Knowing if they won their final match of the day they would be in first place, the Knights rose to the occasion in the final contest of the day to defeat Adelphi, 1,091-884. Once again, FDU took control from the start and never looked back, as it used a balanced attack. Hunzaker stayed hot with a 245, with Brown adding a 241, Sarin a 221, Vizenfeld a 205 and Hannon a 195.
"The big difference [Sunday] was the fact it was a different pattern," LoPresti said. "The pattern was flatter, and we had to be a lot more consistent in ball speed, selection and angles to the pocket. We were able to figure it out and cash in throughout the day. As compared to Saturday, when it was a pattern that had a big build up in the middle of the lane, which is far more forgiving, more teams were able to score at a higher level than normal. For us [Sunday] we continued to play well and score well and it showed in the results."
Hunzaker ended up with a 226 average in four out of five contests. Vizenfeld and Brown, who played in all five games, averaged 218 and 212, respectively. Sarin averaged a 206 in four games, while Hannon averaged a 199 over five.
"Those are very, very high scores for NCAA competition," LoPresti said. "It only happens when you play on a day like Saturday when you have a forgiving pattern and you play at a center where we were able to figure it out and get aligned in and match up very well and play with some momentum and intensity. We got rolling and there was a time where we felt we couldn't be stopped."