RENO, Nev. – The University of Pikeville women’s bowling team hoped to be seeded higher than eighth at the 2014 xBowling Intercollegiate Team Championships, but at the end of day one it didn’t matter as the Bears beat defending national champion Maryland Eastern Shore and top-seeded Wichita State (Kan.) on Wednesday at the Reno/Sparks Convention Center.
Pikeville is one of four teams left in the bracket without a loss and faces Grand View (Iowa) in the third round at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday. The Bears are just two wins away from reaching Friday’s championship match and have the luxury of playing without a loss in the double-elimination format.
There was history with both of the Bear’s opening opponents. UMES topped UPIKE in last year’s finals and is coached by former Pikeville bowler and four-time All-America Kayla Bandy who served as an assistant coach with the Bears last season. Wichita State was the team Pikeville beat in 2008 to win its last national title.
Against UMES, the Hawks came out strong in the first game to register a 214-176 win, but UPIKE roared back with three straight convincing wins (237-153, 201-167, 194-163) to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. UMES had a great fifth game to tally a 224-170 win before the Bears eventually sealed the match 183-151 in the sixth.
Once again Pikeville found itself down 1-0 as Wichita State shot out of the gates with a 209-171 win. Seeming to follow the exact script from the opening round, the Bears won three straight again to take another 3-1 lead against the top-seeded Shockers.
The highlight may have been game two when UPIKE rolled seven strikes for a momentum-building 223-128 win.
Wichita State showed one last bit of fight with a 213-181 win in the fifth game, but it was UPIKE that stayed focused in the end with a hard-fought 224-211 win to send it into Thursday undefeated.
Joining Pikeville on the list of unscathed teams is Grand View, Robert Morris (Ill.) and Sacred Heart (Conn.). Twelve teams remain in all in the women’s bracket as four teams had their seasons end on Wednesday night.
Once again, there will be live coverage of match play featured on BowlTV.
1. Wichita State, 4,803. 2. Robert Morris-Illinois, 4,781. 3. Webber International, 4,726. 4. Newman, 4,619. 5. Grand View, 4,604. 6. McKendree, 4,588. 7. Lindenwood, 4,584. 8. Pikeville, 4,567. 9. Maryland Eastern Shore, 4,537. 10. Stephen F. Austin, 4,476. 11. Notre Dame-Ohio, 4,454. 12. Midland, 4,354. 13. Adrian, 4,319. 14. Sacred Heart, 4,301. 15. Kutztown, 4,286. 16. Bellarmine, 4,084.
(Best-of-7, double-elimination match play)
(1) Wichita State def. (16) Bellarmine, 4-3
(8) Pikeville def. (9) Maryland Eastern Shore, 4-2
(5) Grand View def. (12) Midland, 4-1
(13) Adrian def. (4) Newman, 4-1
(2) Robert Morris-Illinois def. (15) Kutztown, 4-2
(10) Stephen F. Austin def. (7) Lindenwood, 4-3
(11) Notre Dame-Ohio def. (6) McKendree, 4-3
(14) Sacred Heart def. (3) Webber International, 4.5-2.5
Pikeville def. Wichita State, 4-2
Grand View def. Adrian, 4-3
Robert Morris-Illinois def. Stephen F. Austin, 4-2
Sacred Heart def. Notre Dame-Ohio, 4-2
Midland def. Newman, 4-3 (Newman eliminated)
Maryland Eastern Shore def. Bellarmine, 4-1 (Bellarmine eliminated)
McKendree def. Webber International, 4-2 (Webber International eliminated)
Lindenwood def. Kutztown, 4-3 (Kutztown eliminated)