The Sacred Heart University bowling team won twice on the opening day of the Northeast Conference Championship and is a win away from repeating as conference champions.
Prior to the Championship Bracket, the NEC announced its season honors, with the Pioneers well represented. Amanda Nardiello led the league in 15 categories as was the top ranked player with a Player Composite Performance Index of 99.43 percent, and was voted the leagues Player of the Year. SHU comprised 60 percent of the All-NEC First Team, with Lauren Hoffman and Sarah Rhodes joining Nardiello on the top squad. Amanda Tyrrell was named to the All-NEC Second Team. In addition, Pioneer head coach Becky Kregling was named the NEC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year.
SHU, the top-seed, opened tournament play with a 4-1 win over Caldwell University. SHU captured the first three matches, eclipsing 200 in games one and three, before dropping game four. SHU rebounded to clinch the match with a 184-158 win in the fifth game.
In its winners bracket match, SHU fell behind Fairleigh Dickinson 3-1, winning game 2, 202-197, before dropping games three and four. The Pioneer comeback began with a decisive 268-182 victory in the fifth game and SHU evened the match at 3-3 with a 211-189 win in game six. In the decisive game seven, SHU posted a 194-160 win to advance to the championship match.
FDU will face St. Francis Brooklyn, who fell to the Knights in match seven before eliminating Caldwell in the match eight Saturday afternoon. The winner of that match advances to the Championship Match versus the Pioneers at 12:10 on Sunday. SHU needs to win one match (11 or 12) to secure the league title.