MILLSBORO, Del. – Norfolk State defeated Howard twice on Sunday to close out the three-day Maryland Eastern Shore Hawk Classic at Millsboro Lanes. The No. 23 Spartan bowling team finished the weekend with a 5-9 overall record, with three wins coming against ranked teams.
In a tournament that featured 14 ranked teams out of a total of 18 squads that competed, NSU posted a 2-3 record on Friday in Baker play, followed by a 1-5 record on Saturday in traditional games. The Spartans then won twice and lost once on Sunday in the bracket round to take 15th place overall.
The Spartans were led on Saturday by sophomore Alexa Rodriguez, who competed in all six games and tallied an average of 194.2. Sophomore Yarelis Burgos also bowled in all six, posting a 186.3 average. Norfolk State also got strong efforts from freshman Aubrey Conrad (175.3 in six games) and junior Briana Gardner (180.8 in five games).
Altogether, NSU averaged a combined 179.0 in its 72 games on the weekend.
The Spartans began and closed play on Friday with victories. They began the tournament with a 965-915 win over No. 17 Kutztown. In the last match of the day, the Spartans downed No. 18 Tulane, 904-881.
In between, the Spartans suffered losses to UAB (897-870), No. 6 Sam Houston State (1009-867) and No. 2 Stephen F. Austin (1,011-859), in that order. NSU finished the first day of the tournament 12th with a 178.6 average.
NSU’s only win on Saturday came in the last match of the day, a 1,046-951 triumph over No. 13 LIU Brooklyn. The Spartans posted one of the top 10 all-time scores in school history in the victory. Four of the team’s five bowlers had 200 games, including Conrad and Rodriguez (224 each), Gardner (205) and Burgos (a career-high 246).
Three of its opponents topped 1,000 in NSU’s five losses that day. It began with setbacks to No. 7 Central Missouri (1,006-800) and No. 20 St. Francis Brooklyn (1,031-875). Later, the Spartans succumbed to Franklin Pierce (951-811), No. 16 Monmouth (1,023-918) and No. 14 Sacred Heart (955-886).
Norfolk State, seeded 15th, needed some extra time to top Howard on Sunday in the first matchup in bracket play. The Bison won three of the first four games in the best-of-7 Baker series for the early lead. NSU came back to win the fifth and sixth games, 206-149 and 182-168, respectively. But the two teams each rolled games of 170 in the seventh and deciding game to force a tiebreaker. There, NSU won 101-67 to prevail.
No. 15 Saint Francis was able to top the Spartans in four straight games in the next match, including a pair of wins by scores of 268-223 and 197-193 over NSU. But the Spartans then won three of the first four games in a rematch with Howard. After the Bison stayed alive by bowling a 234, two games after they had a 248, NSU won game six by a 192-150 margin to take the match, 4-2.
Sam Houston State finished as the tournament champion, losing just once in 14 games. Monmouth came in second.
NSU will next compete in the MEAC Southern Divisional on Dec. 3 and 4 in Greensboro, N.C.
Originally published at nsuspartans.com