Highlighted by a victory over No. 1 ranked defending NCAA national champion Maryland Eastern Short, the Sam Houston women's bowling team earned a third place finish at the 2011 New Jersey Jamboree Sunday afternoon.
The Bearkats compiled an 11-2 record in the event. No. 3 ranked Fairleigh Dickinson, the tournament host, won the event. No. 2 ranked Vanderbilt placed second
Sam Houston got off to a quick start, defeating Maryland Eastern Shore in their first bracket play match Sunday. FDU downed the Bearkats in the semifinals but SHSU bounced back to knock off No. 9 ranked Sacred Heart in the third place contest.
Sam Houston State entered Sunday's action as one of only two of the 20 teams in the field to stand 9-1 through the second day of the 2011 New Jersey Jamboree women's bowling tournament Friday.
The event was held at Parkway Lanes in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, and consisted of a 20-team field that featured 12 nationally ranked squads.
Eight of the 11 victories for the No. 7 ranked Bearkats have came over top 20 nationally ranked foes including a win Saturday over No. 2 Vanderbilt.
Saturday in traditional team matches, the Bearkats defeated No. 16 Saint Francis 922-883, unranked Bethune Cookman 965-721, No. 2 Vanderbilt 989-952 and unranked Monmouth 995-960. The Bearkats' only loss was to host Fairleigh Dickinson by a narrow 992-985 seven-pin gap.
"As a team we had another solid day," Sam Houston head coach Brad Hagen said. "This weekend has been 100% a collective effort from everyone and were looking to continue the momentum in to sunday's match play. This team needs to continue doing exactly what we've been doing all weekend and thats keeping the focus & intensity moving forward from here out and during match play."
With total pin count being used to determine seeding for Sunday's bracket play, the Bearkats stand fourth in the tournament. Fairleigh Dickinson stands first with 9,016 pins and a 7-3 record. Vanderbilt is in second with a 6-4 mark and 8,989 pins followed by Maryland Eastern Shore 8,940 pins and 7-3 and Sam Houston 8,815 points with a 9-1 mark.
"The key to our success in match play Sunday is coming out the gate solidly and taking care of business," Hagen said. "We stick to what has worked all weekend and I think we have a good chance to give this tournament a run."
Four Bearkats totaled more than 900 pins in traditional team play Saturday. Elise Bolton knocked down 994 pins with a high game of 235. Kimi Davidson totaled 987 with a 233 high game. Dayna Galganski totaled 951 pins with a high of 210 and Michele Secours 948 with a best of 216.
In total pin fall Baker matches Friday, Sam Houston defeated No. 11 Adelphi 757-706, No. 19 Saint Francis (PA) 799-645, No. 9 Sacred Heart 764-751, unranked Long Island 875-740 and No. 8 Kutztown 764-737.
"We came in focused Friday and everyone understood fully that a slow start today was not an option, especially with the shorter set format," Hagen said. "As a team we wanted to come out with intensity and energy and set our bar high from the starter. That's exactly what we did."
The Bearkats are looking to improve on last year's third place finish at the New Jersey Jamboree. Sam Houston also placed third in their first tournament of the season last weekend in Springfield, Mo.
"The whole team got the job done Friday," Hagen said. "Communication, support, energy and drive all played crucial parts."
The Bearkats now stand 19-6 for the young 2011-12 season. Sam Houston opened the year with two victories over Stephen F. Austin in the Piney Woods Shootout in Arlington then went 8-5 in the Greater Ozark Invitational in Springfield, Mo., as they finished third in the tournament.