RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Mo. -- Stephen F. Austin got off to a strong start in the opening day of the 2015 NCAA Bowling Championships, posting a 4-1 record through the first five matches of pool play. The Ladyjacks are tied for first with top-seeded Nebraska heading into the final two pool play matches Friday morning.
The seventh-seeded Ladyjacks opened up the day on the wrong side of the scoresheet, falling to eighth-seeded Wisconsin-Whitewater 1,137-1,064 despite four SFA bowlers finishing above 200. Freshman Stephanie Schwartz bowled a 257, the highest total of the day for the Ladyjacks, followed by 209s from both senior Chelsea King and sophomore Paige Kraushaar. Sophomore Kiara Grant posted a 202 as well for the Ladyjacks.
SFA then rebounded in assertive fashion, reeling off four consecutive wins. The first of those wins came in a 961-823 victory against fifth-seeded Central Missouri. Schwartz once again led the way for the Ladyjacks with a 216 as King added a 204.
Match three pitted SFA against Southland Bowling League rival and fourth-seeded Vanderbilt as the Ladyjacks toppled the Commodores 942-900. Schwartz once again was the high bowler for SFA with a 226, followed by a 202 by junior Danielle Lynn.
Up next for SFA was a showdown with top-seeded Nebraska as the Ladyjacks outlasted the Cornhuskers 1,057-1,036. King spearheaded the match for SFA, finishing with a day-high 247 with Kraushaar right behind with a 244, her high match of the day. Schwartz added a 220, giving three performances of 220 or better to pace the Ladyjacks to the win.
The final match of the day proved to be the most competitive as SFA rallied to post a nailbiting 985-980 win against second-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson. Lynn's 233 helped lead the Ladyjacks to the victory with Kraushaar bowling a 218 and Schwartz adding a 192, her only match of the day to finish below 200.
Schwartz paced SFA in its first NCAA championship appearance, posting a 222.2 scoring average on the day and ranking third among the individual standings. Kraushaar sits 11th after the opening five rounds, posting a 207.8 average with King finishing with a 198.8 average on the day. Lynn also had a strong showing, averaging 197.3 per match with Grant bowling a 186.7 average.