By Ryan Touhey
The Sacred Heart University women’s bowling team is currently one of the top ranked teams in the nation. With their season down to its final two months, they look to prove why.
The National Tenpin Coaches Association Poll (NTCA) ranked Sacred Heart tenth in the nation during its February poll. According to its website, the NTCA is a promoter of NCAA Women’s Bowling. Being ranked in the Top-10 was among Sacred Heart’s main goals that they had hoped to accomplish this season.
“It’s great to be ranked,” said senior Amanda Tyrrell. “We’ve worked really hard for it because once you’ve reached the eight, nine, or ten-level, you get to be called a bubble-team for Nationals.”
Sacred Heart was ranked fourteenth by the NTCA for its preseason poll. The season started off with the team winning their SHU Bowl for the Cure Tournament for the first time in its three years of existence.
“Winning that is a great start to the season because you also have the ability to have single-winners as well. We do have a singles-tournament after the team tournament,” said Tyrrell.
Sacred Heart went 14-4 during October, which included them finishing second at the FDU NJ Jamboree. Senior Sarah Rhodes was the team’s highest singles finisher for the tournament, and felt that the Jamboree proved the team’s unity.
“That was kind of the start-off to our NCAA competition,” said Rhodes. “We definitely started on the right foot, coming in at second in a tournament where top teams in the nation were competing as well.”
Sacred Heart was ranked 11th by the NTCA in November. When conference play started in December, the team took off. They won the first Northeast Conference Tournament on the weekend of Dec. 2, by going undefeated with a 10-0 record against their conference rivals.
“It really cemented how great of a team that we know we are, and we just happened to prove it that weekend,” said Tyrrell.
Head coach Becky Kregling also felt that the tournament set the tone for the rest of the season.
“It was a huge momentum builder,” said Kregling.
After going 9-6 in January, Sacred Heart started off February by travelling to Houston, Texas to compete at the 2017 SFA Jacks Invitational.
The tournament was held on the weekend of Feb. 10 and consisted of many of the nation’s top bowling teams. These included Arkansas State, Tulane and Stephen F. Austin State University, who are the defending National Champions.
The tournament teams were divided into two pools, The Purple Pool and the White Pool. Sacred Heart was a member of the White Pool, along with fellow Northeast Conference member, LIU Brooklyn.
“It’s a strong field. It can make or break you,” said Kregling.
Sacred Heart’s next matchups will be at the Northeast Conference Tournament on Feb. 25 and 26 in Elmwood Park, N.J.