CHESAPEAKE, Va. – The bowling rivalry between North Carolina A&T and Maryland Eastern Shore is real and intense. It did not disappoint on Sunday either. It was just disappointing that the right team didn’t win during the biggest moment of the season.
In a rematch of last year’s Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championship match, N.C. A&T failed to repeat as conference champion as MDES won the rematch in seven Baker format games.
The loss proved costly for N.C. A&T. MDES will take the MEAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Without the MEAC’s automatic bid, it is unlikely the Aggies will earn an automatic bid. They do not have a top-4 ranking in the RPI among teams who will enter the NCAA tournament without an automatic bid.
It is heartbreaking considering the outstanding season the Aggies put together. But the Aggies did not go out without a fight. They started the day by taking the first game 221-179. MDES rallied in the second game to edge out the Aggies by four pins winning 189-185.
The momentum then shifted back to the Aggies as lane 36 seemed to be reacting better to the Aggies bowling style. N.C. A&T took Game 3 by a score of 212-156. The Aggies switched lanes and lost Game 4, 192-184.
The lanes then seem to start to change as the pattern started to dry out. It was MDES who took Game 5 200-178. N.C. A&T won Game 6 203-118 to tie the series at three games apiece.
The seventh and final game was a tight one with MDES coming out on top 208-200 to win the title.
“I thought both teams played extremely well even with a very difficult pattern,” said N.C. A&T coach Kim Terrell-Kearney about the match which aired on ESPNU. “It was a great season, and I am proud how we bowled on television.”
Sophomore Ana Olaya and freshman Ericka Quesada made the all-tournament team for their performances.
N.C. A&T returns the bulk of their team including Olaya, a two-time first-team All-MEAC performer, along with second-team all-conference standout Cameron Strombeck and third-team selection Mia Pope. Quesada who had an average of nearly 200, is also back as the Aggies will try to take away MDES’ title next season.