Women’s bowling finished second while the men’s squad took fifth at the National Team Match Games tournament November 18-19 in Fairview Heights and Belleville, Illinois. The Lady Lions led for the majority of baker competition on Sunday, but that lead slipped away in the final four-game set. The Lions had a consistent weekend, maintaining a top-five position for most of the event.
The Lady Lions had one of their best Saturday’s of the season at the tier 1 “major” tournament. Opening games of 910 and 890 put them in fifth place to start, but Lindenwood turned up the heat from there finishing the day with a season high 1043, and following that with games of 944 and 1040. The Lady Lions led day one with a grand total of 4827, 80 pins ahead of second place Mount Mercy, and 95 pins ahead of third place McKendree.
Conditions proved to be a bit trickier for 20 games of baker competition on Sunday, but after sets of 693 and 712, Lindenwood still held a 19-pin lead over the Mustangs, but Trine University was only 37-pins behind in third, and Wichita State just 49-pins behind in fourth. The Lady Lions found their stride in sets three and four with scores of 773 and 766, which included a high of 255, but standings continued to get tighter. With four games remaining, Lindenwood only had a three-pin lead over Mount Mercy, 49-pin advantage over the Shockers, and 51-pin lead over Trine. The Lady Lions shot 189 and 199 to start the final set, but disaster struck in the next game as Lindenwood only mustered 125. The Lady Lions recovered for a final game of 194, a baker total of 3651 (182.55 average), and a grand total of 8478. That left them in second place, just 90-pins behind the Mustangs, but 20-pins in front of third place Wichita State.
The Lions were solid throughout five team games on Saturday, but couldn’t find a way to post any big scores. Games of 948, 1001, 1044, 985, and 1021 gave them a day one total of 4999. That was good enough for fifth place, only 62-pins behind fourth place Southern Nazarene, 131-pins behind third place McKendree, 243-pins behind second place Wichita State, and 275-pins behind Wisconsin – Whitewater.
It was a similar story during baker competition on Sunday. Lindenwood broke the 200 mark 10 out of the 20 games, including a high of 233, but the Lions couldn’t put any good sets together, only breaking 800 once. After an opening set of 784, Lindenwood followed with sets of 783 and 755 before finally posting a set of 834, but the final set proved to be the lowest of the day for the Lions. With a baker total of 3877 (193.85 average), Lindenwood finished with a grand total of 8876 to take fifth place, finishing 186-pins behind fourth place McKendree, 224 behind Wisconsin – Whitewater in third, and 227 behind Newman in second. The Shockers ran away from the field to win the event.
Individually, four Lady Lions finished in the top 10, led by Carissa Merkle, who won the women’s title and earned the top spot on the All-Tournament Team with a total of 1035 (207 average). She was followed by teammate Samantha Smith in second with a total of 1030 (206 average), and Hailey Bozych in fifth with 991 (198.2 average). Both joined Merkle on the All-Tournament Team. Liz Rittenour totaled 970 (194 average) including a high game of 256 to finish ninth in the field of 129 bowlers.
In the men’s field of 223, Nathan Bassford was the top Lion in 16th place with a total of 1029 (205.8 average). Blake Reiger took 32nd with 987 (197.4 average). Javier Muniz Vega averaged 232.25 for four games, including a high of 279, Mason Foley averaged 201.75 for four games, Jared Felipa averaged 214 for two, and Juan Pablo Aguirre averaged 213 for two to help the Lions cause.
Men’s and women’s bowling will return to action in 2024 at the ISBPA Kegel Collegiate Classic January 13-14 in Addison, Illinois, outside of Chicago.