Led by freshman Elise Bolton who was named to the six player all-tournament team, Sam Houston State finished third in its first intercollegiate bowling tournament of the 2011-12 season.
The Bearkats produced a 8-5 overall record at the Greater Ozark Women's Intercollegiate. The event, hosted by Central Missouri, was played at Enterprise Park Lanes in Springfield, Mo.
The field at the tournament consists of five nationally ranked teams including No. 4 host Central Missouri, No. 6 Arkansas State, No. 7 Sam Houston, No. 13 Stephen F. Austin, No. 18 Valparaiso and No. 20 Prairie View A&M. Unranked teams in the competition are Louisiana Tech and Elmhurst.
The Bearkats won two of their three matches in bracket play best of seven Baker matches Sunday.
Sam Houston defeated No. 4-ranked Central Missouri 4-2 in their match of the day then lost to eventual tournament champion No. 18 Valparaiso 4-1.
In the third place match, the Bearkats avenged a Saturday loss to No. 13 Stephen F. Austin with a 4-1 victory. That puts the Sam Houston bowling team an 8-1 advantage over the Lumberjacks during the program's two seasons.
"The girls did an amazing job managing the momentum and remaining focused throughout Sunday morning and afternoon," Sam Houston bowling coach Brad Hagen said. "Between Saturday & Sunday there was a lot of great glimpses of what this team is very capable of doing from here out. The team grew together this weekend & we took a lot of positives from it all & areas to focus on."
Saturday, on day two of the tournament, the Kats went 4-1 in traditional team bowling matches. Unfortunately, the one loss was to rival Stephen F. Austin, the first time in nine matches the past two years the Bearkats have lost to the Lumberjacks.
"Overall Saturday was a much better day mentally and psychologically," Hagen said. " I was proud of how the girls communicated today and worked together. We regrouped, got refocused and got accomplished what we wanted to do. Our minimal goal for today was 4-1 and that's what we did despite not being satisfied."
Sam Houston's victories came over No. 4 ranked Central Missouri 970-957, unranked Louisiana Tech 921-820, No. 20 Prairie View A&M 873-811 and unranked Elmhurst 957-778.
Stephen F. Austin defeated the Bearkats 935-909.
"We made some key mistakes against the Jacks and had an unlucky break at the end that really cost us not only in the match but also from going 5-0 for the day," Hagen said. " It happens a lot in our sport and unfortunately it just came at the wrong time. SFA was able to capitalize on our mistakes and cudo's to them for getting a win and closing when it counted the most."
During the tradition team matches Kimi Davidson averaged 190 pins in five games with highs of 213 and 202. Elise Bolton averaged 199.4 with high games of 235 and 221. Aida Sanchez put together an average of 186.66 with a high game of 215.
"Elise & Kimi really stepped up to the plate today and proved they could handle the pressure," Hagen said. " Today was truly a collective team effort but Kimi & Elise did there thing today and grinded with the best of them to keep us in the mix. Youth, drive, and passion played key factors in our success today."
"I was proud of Elise maintaining her composure and grinding out shots through out the tough day and Kimi for staying focused. Kimi has made great strides over the last month to get herself back to where's she's at and you can really see her passion and effort expressed."
In Friday five-game Baker total pinfall matches, Sam Houston State won twice and lost in three matches.
The Elmhurst Blue Jays from Elmhurst, Illinois handed the Bearkats a 924-898 loss in the first match of the day.
Sam Houston bounced back with a 910-845 victory over Prairie View A&M. Valparaiso knocked off the Kats 1001-867 in Friday's third match.
The Bearkats defeated the Lumberjacks 963-882. Arkansas State ended Friday with a 999-855 defeat for the Bearkats.
"There were a lot of highs and lows today and we just had a tough time keeping momentum in our corner," Hagen said. "We caught a couple tough pairs and had a few so not lucky breaks, mixed in with some silly mistakes, and unfortuantly we let our emotions get the better of us this afternoon."