CHESAPEAKE, Va. – After entering the day as the No. 6 seed, the Norfolk State bowling team knew it would face a challenging slate if it wanted to advance to the MEAC Championship final on Sunday. Safe to say the Spartans met that challenge head on.
NSU knocked off No. 3 seed Delaware State twice and also defeated No. 2 seed North Carolina A&T to earn a spot in Sunday’s championship round beginning at noon against No. 1 seed UMES. It will mark just the second time ever the Spartans have advanced to the title match, the other being in 2012 when NSU won its first and only conference title.
Playing in a familiar setting at the AMF Lanes in Chesapeake, NSU shrugged off a slow start to the tournament on Friday, much like it did during that championship march in 2012. This time, the Spartans finished with the sixth-highest pin total out of the eight teams in the tournament.
But in Saturday’s double-elimination bracket round, the Spartans quickly got going with a 4-1 win over nationally ranked No. 17 Delaware State in a Baker format. Games of 225 and 206 allowed the Spartans to jump ahead by a 3-0 score, and after DSU took the fourth game, NSU rolled a 222 in the fifth to close out the win.
No. 10-ranked North Carolina A&T had to scratch and claw to defeat No. 7 seed Morgan State in the first round, 4-3. The Aggies did not have enough in the second round, though, as NSU came away with a 4-2 triumph. The Spartans won the last two games, 205-170 and 188-173, to close out the victory, while also rolling games of 216 and 194 earlier in the matchup.
Delaware State then sent N.C. A&T home with a 4-2 win, setting up a rematch between the Hornets and Spartans. But again, NSU had the answer, this time with a 4-0 sweep of the Hornets. The Spartans played their day’s best in the first two games with totals of 227 and 224 and then closed out the sweep with wins of 193-190 and 198-175.
NSU had gone 3-3 against N.C. A&T this year and 0-1 versus DSU.
NSU will face No. 9-ranked UMES on Sunday at noon in a single winner-take-all match. The contest will be tape-delayed on ESPNU for a March 30th-showing at 9 p.m. The Spartans won the only matchup with UMES this year, 950-911 at the UMES Hawk Classic in November.