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NCAA.com | January 24, 2014

Home cooking?

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The Kutztown Invite, the largest women's collegiate tournament in the country, is on tap this weekend. What's more, the home fans will get to cheer one of the top teams in the country.

The Golden Bears (40-20, 9-7 NEC) had a 13-match winning streak in the season's first half and is currently ranked ninth in the country. A big reason for the team's surge is the play of senior Deanna Dirado, who after averaging a shade over 186 last season, is averaging more than 200 so far this season.

Kutztown hopes to bounce back from a disappointing performance in its last outing, a 3-4 weekend at the NEC conference tournament.

"The team struggled to execute shots throughout the day," head coach Joseph Ambrose said. "We definitely know what we need to work on for the second half of the season."

The team to beat this weekend in Reading may just be second-ranked Maryland-Eastern Shore. The Hawks ended 2013 with a perfect weekend, posting a 10-0 record against the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's (MEAC) Northern Division teams  in Hampton, Va. The wins moved the Hawks to 40-5 overall and 19-1 in league play.

UMES has a pair of players averaging more than 200 recently. The fact that senior Megan Buja -- a former MEAC Player of the Week -- is doing it may not be much of a surprise, but to get that type of play from freshman is.

Sara Pelayo averaged for than 212 in Hampton, but that's just the start. Making her collegiate debut, Pelayo worked her way through the lineup over the first two days of the FDU Jamboree in early April before settling in at anchor on Day 3. There she anchored the team to wins over Valparaiso and Adelphi. In the match against Valparaiso, Pelayo need a strike on the fill ball of the tenth frame to tie game three. Down 2-0, she crossed over and got the strike Brooklyn-style.

Fourth-ranked Stephen F. Austin, fifth-ranked Fairleigh-Dickinson, seventh ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater and eighth-ranked Vanderbilt also take to the lanes at Kutztown this weekend.

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