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Wickliffe, OH - The Sacred Heart bowling team will be seeded fourth in the 2012 NCAA Championship bracket after compiling a 4-3 match-play record in the qualifying rounds this afternoon. Jacqueline Willy (Clarence, NY) led the Pioneers, and finished eighth in the field, with a 202 average over seven matches.
Sacred Heart (79-37) started the morning session with its highest game of the block, knocking off #4 Vanderbilt 954-933. Jackie Carbonetto (Blauvelt, NY) paced the SHU attack in game one with a 217. The Pioneers struggled in a game two matchup with NEC rival #2 Fairleigh Dickinson. The Knights cruised to a 973-812 victory behind a 233 from Michelle Hunzaker.
SHU's third game of the tournament saw the red and white square-off with #6 Valparaiso. The Crusaders pulled away late in a back-and-forth battle to earn the win, 1014-916. Nicole Trudell (Coventry, RI) posted her high game of 225 in the contest. Sacred Heart would finish the early session with a dramatic 904-903 triumph over defending national champion #8 Maryland-Eastern Shore. Willy registered the high game for the Pioneers, 224, while Carbonetto sealed the win in the tenth frame before UMES could send its anchor to the lane.
Sacred Heart found itself in the middle of a packed standings sheet following the competition's first four games. Six of the eight teams in the field sat tied with a record of 2-2 while Nebraska was the lone unbeaten squad with a 4-0 mark. #1 Arkansas State was the biggest surprise of the morning block as the Red Wolves were held winless, 0-4.
The Pioneers tangled with #1 Arkansas State in the first match of the afternoon session as both squads improved on what had been their high game of the tournament. However, it was the Red Wolves who came out on top, 1043-977, as Emily Troutman rolled a 244. SHU's high game of the contest came from Willy's 211 in the fourth position in the lineup.
Sacred Heart would bounce right back to score its biggest win of the day in an eight pin triumph over #3 Nebraska. Willy continued her consistent performance with a match high 237, including five straight strikes. Trudell finished strong in the anchor spot, recovering after posting a 66 through five frames. The sophomore rallied to deliver seven consecutive strikes to end the game and notch a 216 as well as put pressure on the Cornhusker anchor. Kayla Jones needed to double for Nebraska but her first ball came in high, allowing SHU to pick up the victory, 970-962.
The Pioneers finished qualifying on a high note by dispatching of #5 Central Missouri, 932-838. The match was tight throughout but Sacred Heart pulled away with a huge tenth frame. Carbonetto, Willy, and Trudell all struck out in their final turn to clinch the win and a record of 4-3 in qualifying.
The 2012 NCAA Champion will be decided in tomorrow's double elimination bracket that will be contested using best-of-seven baker matches.
Sacred Heart begins its quest for the program's first national championship tomorrow against No. 5 Maryland-Eastern Shore.
NCAA Qualifying Seeds:
1 – Vanderbilt
2 – Nebraska
3 – Fairleigh Dickinson4 – Sacred Heart
5 – Maryland-Eastern Shore
6 – Arkansas State
7 – Central Missouri
8 – Valparaiso