The Nebraska bowling team travels to the NCAA National Championship Tournament in Canton, Mich.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

No. 1 Huskers Head to NCAA Championship

By NU Athletic Communications

Lincoln—The Nebraska bowling team will compete in the 2013 NCAA Women’s Bowling Championship this Thursday-Saturday at Super Bowl Lanes in Canton, Mich. The Huskers are seeking their fourth NCAA title since the NCAA began sponsoring bowling as a sport in 2004 (2004, 2005 and 2009). This will be the 10th consecutive appearance for the Huskers in the tournament.

Other NCAA qualifiers include Central Missouri, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Arkansas State, Vanderbilt, Sam Houston State, Wisconsin-Whitewater and Fairleigh Dickinson. Maryland-Eastern Shore is the two-time defending NCAA champion.

Competition begins with qualifying rounds on Thursday, April 11, in which each team bowls one five-person regular team game against each of the other seven teams participating in the championship for a total of seven games.

Bracket play begins Friday morning, as teams will be seeded based on Thursday’s record during team qualifying. Teams will then compete in best-of-seven-games Baker matches in a double-elimination tournament.  In the Baker format, each of the five team members, in order, bowls a complete frame until a complete (10-frame) game is bowled.  A Baker match tied 3½ games to 3½ games after seven games will be decided by a tiebreaker using the Modified Baker format.

Head Coach Bill Straub is confident that NU will come out strong Thursday in the qualifying rounds of the tournament, noting that it is extremely important for the Huskers to stay focused in competition.

"With bowling being offense only and having no defense to consider, the game is just player, lane and ball. Starting well on Thursday's qualifying day requires self-control: remembering that preparation has gone well, that emotion-management can be managed and that management can be maintained, that executing similar to that of the recent practices at the team's home facility has proven achievable.” Straub said. “Husker bowling is a solid group, looking to keep focus at the NCAA's one shot at a time. If that can be kept at the forefront of thoughts, the coaches can ask for nothing more".

Straub added that Wednesday is a vital day of practice for NU.

"The most important day of the NCAA's, for now, is Wednesday,” Straub said, “Wednesday holds the practice session, where the team gets the best opportunity to get familiar with the lanes, getting some indication as to what type of ball reaction can be expected for the event. This knowledge will hopefully be of help when deciding which equipment should be used and which alignment on the lanes will likely give the team the best chance to succeed when qualifying begins."

Straub also talked about how the team has had a great few weeks of practice leading up to the national championship.

“The preparatory work at home has been very productive. Each player has the fundamental development needed to perform at a high level. The ability to execute will rely heavily on that development when emotion-management is most vital." Straub said.

Sophomore Liz Kuhlkin has been one of the biggest surprises this year for the Huskers, and is certainly a player to watch as the Huskers chase their fourth NCAA title and ninth overall. Kuhlkin is routinely the leader on the alley for NU, earning a spot on all-tournament team four times during her sophomore campaign, which leads the Huskers.

The championship finals will air on ESPNU on Saturday, April 13, at 7 p.m. central.  A tape-delay broadcast of the championship finals will air on ESPN on Sunday, April 14, from 1-2:30 p.m. (central). Check back here at throughout the season, as the Huskers make a bid for their fourth NCAA title.

Nebraska NCAA Championship Roster:

Elise Bolton

Amanda Burau

Beth Hedley

Liz Kuhlkin

Yan Ling

Kristi Mickelson

Andrea Ruiz


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