By Kendall Gregory
The Sacred Heart University’s women’s bowling team has begun this season the same way they ended last year, by winning.
The team finished the 2015-16 season by winning the Northeast Conference (NEC) Championship against Long Island University-Brooklyn. Expectations for this season remain high.
Senior captain Amanda Tyrell wants to get back to that championship game.
“Being able to keep our position as NEC Champions for the second year in a row would be amazing,” said Tyrrell.
The team started this season on a 10-0 run. They finished first and second at their first two tournaments. After suffering their first loss to Caldwell University, they currently hold a record of 14-4.
Coach Rebecca Kregling is happy with how her team has performed so far.
“We have played well and consistently in the first two tournaments. Both tournament finishes were the highest in the last three years,” said Kregling. “I feel we are working well together and the students-athletes are playing at a much higher level than last year.”
Kregling has made some changes in practice since last season. Individual and small group practices were added to focus on each player.
“Last year we focused more on players who had major things to change. This year we focused on every player, including our best, to make sure their physical games were solid and ready for the season,” said Kregling.
The returning players practiced and competed over the summer. Senior Lauren Hoffman, NEC Championship Most Valuable Player (MVP), believes the team is on the way to a successful season.
“The biggest factor that is going to help us have another successful season is to communicate and bond with each other on and off the lanes,” said Hoffman. “Being able to be unified as one group no matter what, will lead to our success on the lanes.”
Senior Sarah Rhodes, named to the All-NEC First Team last season, believes the team’s bond is very strong this season.
“We are all like family. We always have a great time when we’re all together but no one pushes you more than your family,” said Rhodes. “Whether it be on the lanes, in the classroom, or in the gym, I know the team has my back not only to support me, but to push me to be the best version of myself as both an athlete and a person.”
The team agrees that their two biggest matches this season were against Fairleigh Dickinson University and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Wins over both teams were huge.
Both are ranked higher than Sacred Heart.
Goals for the remainder of the season include another NEC Championship, but also a run at Nationals. Kregling’s goals include working to improve each individual’s game and finish in the top of major tournaments to improve the team’s national ranking to the Top 10.
“If the team can keep that drive going all season long, we may be able to be a contender for Nationals, which would be the icing on our favorite chocolate cake,” said Tyrrell.
The women’s next tournament is the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Hawk Classic on Nov. 18.