NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ -- The two teams who clashed in last year’s NCAA Bowling Championship Final are each one win away from meeting there again on Saturday evening.
Nebraska and Stephen F. Austin opened championship bracket play with back-to-back match victories on Friday afternoon at BrunswickZone Carolier Lanes.
As a result, the Cornhuskers (2-0) and the Ladyjacks (2-0) sit in an envious position within the double-elimination bracket as they wait for their next opponent to emerge.
“We only graduated one player from last year’s team,” said SFA head coach Amber Lemke. “They got a taste of it and they are hungry to get back to the TV show.”
The championship match will appear live on ESPNU on April 16 at 6:30 pm ET with ESPN2 airing the broadcast on tape delay beginning at 6:00 pm ET on April 17.
To earn the television appearance, the SFA Ladyjacks will need to defeat either Sam Houston State or North Carolina A&T. The Bearkats and the Aggies square off in an elimination match on Saturday morning at 9:00 am ET with the winner advancing to take on Stephen F. Austin.
The other elimination match will feature Arkansas State and McKendree battling for the right to take on Nebraska, which is eyeing an unprecedented eight trip to the national title bout.
North Carolina A&T and McKendree, the lone two first-time participants in this year’s championship field, were victorious in their opening matches of bracket play before tripping in Round 2.
Vanderbilt and Central Missouri were the first two teams to suffer elimination in the eight-team championship bracket.
NOTES: Sam Houston State posted the best record (5-2) during preliminary round competition, which came to a close early Friday afternoon. As a result, the Bearkats earned the top seed in the championship bracket. … Nebraska’s Julia Bond, the 2015 NCAA Championship MVP, led all individuals in game average (228.4) during preliminary round play. Arkansas State’s Jordan Richard (220.0) and Stephanie Mims (218.9) ranked second and third, respectively. … Nebraska and Central Missouri are the lone two programs to have qualified for the NCAA Bowling Championship every year since 2004.