By Ryan Touhey
Sacred Heart University junior bowler Amanda Nardielo was named the 2016-17 NEC Bowler of the Year.
According to the NEC website, Nardiello became the first Pioneer in nine seasons to win the award since the NEC’s inception.
“It’s really surprising that I could accomplish such a thing,” said Nardiello. “It’s an amazing feeling and I’m really proud of myself and hopefully I can make a run for it next year.”
Nardiello knocked down 9.22 pins on her first ball shots during the NEC competition this season. She hit a strike 52.3 percent of the time and collected a game average total of 205.6 points throughout 11 traditional team matches.
“I was very consistent with hitting my mark,” said Nardiello. “My spares were great and my strikes were great, so everything just came together at once.”
Nardiello’s greatest asset, according to head coach Becky Kregling, is her ability to concentrate and come through in any given situation.
“She can strike a lot when given the ball in different patterns and different shots,” said Kregling. “Whether it’s the first shot of the match or the last shot of the match, it doesn’t faze her.”
In addition to being Bowler of the Year, Nardiello was one of five bowlers to be named to the All-NEC First Team. She was named along with teammates and seniors Sarah Rhodes and Lauren Hoffman. Furthermore, senior Amanda Tyrrell became Sacred Heart’s lone representative on the All-NEC Second Team.
“I’m so proud of them,” said senior Kristin Zimmerman. “They have really become great bowlers and great friends of mine, so to see them have all of their accomplishments really means a lot to me.”
Kregling was also recognized for her season and was named the NEC Coach of the Year by her peers for the second straight time.
“It is quite an amazing honor to get it twice,” said Kregling. “I do credit the girls for bowling so well for me to get it.”
Zimmerman said that Kregling’s words of encouragement for the bowlers is what stands out about her when compared to the other NEC coaches.
Sacred Heart finished their season as the runner-up in the NEC Tournament, which took place on March 25 and 26 at Howell Lanes in Howell, N.J. The tournament’s matches were best-of-seven series contests.
According to the Sacred Heart website, the team defeated Caldwell University in their first match 4-1. They then overcame a 3-1 deficit against nationally sixth-ranked Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), and defeated them 4-3 to advance to the championship. In the championship match, the team would have to face FDU again.
FDU would need to defeat Sacred Heart twice in order to win the title because they possessed a loss. FDU did just that and won the first match 4-0-1 and the second match 4-3, thus becoming the NEC champions.
“Second is definitely nothing to hang your heads over,” said Nardiello. “We fought really hard.”
Kregling said that although the loss was disappointing, it was rewarding to coach the team because of the atmosphere. She is proud of her team and values the efforts that
her players put in each and every season. The team has bonded over their experiences together.
“They just keep doing everything and more of it, I don’t have to push them,” said
Kregling. “This group is more of a family because they appreciate the little things.”