With the 2021-2022 season just starting, the Sacred Heart University women’s bowling team was picked to finish second in the preseason coaches poll and 12th in the National Tenpin Coaches Association Preseason Poll.
The team was also picked to finish second in the preseason poll last year. They moved up two spots from where they were picked to finish in the National Tenpin Coaches Poll last year from 14th to 12th.
Captains for the 2021-2022 team include junior Amanda Shelters, junior Nicole Cona and graduate student Colby Jones.
“We’ve been on the team for a long time,” said Jones. “We know what’s expected for the whole team and how we should run for it to be effective and for us to go to championships.”
Sophomore Paige Donovan made the Northeast Conference (NEC) All-Rookie team last year, but she focuses more on how successful the team is rather than her own accomplishments.
“As much as it’s nice to do well individually, for me, it’s more about the team’s success,” said Donovan. “The more one person works hard, the more likely your teammates are going to work hard no matter what position you’re in.”
Despite losing an All-American player from last year, the team has a few key players returning.
“Colby came back for a fifth year which is helpful. Amanda Shelters, Hannah Mannetta, Nicole Cona, and Paige Donovan were the other ones that bowled last year,” said Head Coach Becky Kregling.
The Pioneers also bring in eight new freshmen to the roster.
“A couple of the freshmen look pretty good right now. Right now, Racheal is looking pretty good. Molly, Morgan, and Nancy, their numbers are looking pretty good,” said Kregling.
The team will be looking to dethrone the defending champs Fairleigh Dickinson University.
“I think we have a possibility. I think we’re a strong enough team to be able to give them a run for their money,” said Jones.
Donovan still believes that this team can get better.
“I’m proud of all the effort everyone has put in to get to this position. It makes me more motivated to work harder because I think that we are definitely in a position to improve,” said Donovan. “I think we’re a competitive group and I think that it’s very motivating.”
The team’s next matchup will be against Virginia Union University (VUU) on Oct 29-31 at the VUU Invitational in Richmond.
Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.