Houston, Texas -- The Nebraska bowling team capped a remarkable season by winning the NCAA Women’s Bowling Championship at Emerald Bowl in Houston late Saturday.
The Huskers, who lost to Central Missouri State in Friday’s winner’s bracket final by one pin, stove off elimination three times on Saturday, defeating New Jersey City University, 4-3, before toppling top-seeded CMSU by identical scores of 4-2 to claim the first-ever women’s NCAA title.
It is the third national title (one NCAA and two IBC) since the program was elevated to varsity status in the 1997-98 season, and the sixth overall for Coach Bill Straub, who guided the program since its days as a club sport at Nebraska. It is also the 21st national title won by a Husker athletic program in school history.
The action from Saturday’s final rounds will be nationally televised on ESPN2 on a tape-delay basis Sunday, April 11, at Noon (CDT). The show will be 90 minutes with Jan Schmidt and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard calling all of the action for ESPN2.
Nebraska survived a tough opening match on Saturday, escaping with a 4-3 win over New Jersey City University, the No. 6 seed in the tournament. The Huskers and Gothic Knights were tied 3-3 before the Huskers advanced with a 191-178 win in the seventh game, as Shannon Pluhowsky clinched the win with a strike on the 10th frame.
The win sent the Huskers on to the title match against Central Missouri State, as the Huskers needed to beat the Jennies, the only team to go undefeated in Friday’s competition, twice on Saturday.
The Huskers won the rematch by a score of 4-2, setting up a winner-take-all match for the first-ever NCAA title. NU took control in the fourth game as the teams ended the game tied at 212, forcing a two frame roll-off. Adrienne Miller converted a strike in the first frame before Pluhowsky rolled three straight strikes, giving NU a 60-40 win as NU took a 3-1 lead.
In the second championship match, The Huskers opened up with a 170-131 victory before dropping the next two games (160-208; 185-190) to fall behind 2-1. Nebraska would rebound, winning the next two games in convincing fashion (239-150; 219-197) before wrapping up the program’s first-ever NCAA crown with a 215-173 victory.
The Huskers will be in a great position to defend their NCAA title in 2005, as all seven bowlers who competed at the NCAA Championships are underclassmen, including Pluhowsky, a two-time All-American and three-time U.S. Amateur champion, and current Team USA member Amanda Burgoyne. Other returnees include sophomores Nicole Aleo, Karla Engh, Jamie Martin and Jennifer Schultz and Miller, a freshman.
Husker Bowling Championship Notes:
*- Nebraska has now won 21 national titles in school history (men’s gymnastics-8; football-5; women’s indoor track-3; bowing-3 and volleyball-2).
*- The Husker bowling program has now won six national titles (1991, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2004) under Head Coach Bill Straub dating back to the days when it was a club sport. The last three titles have been won since the club was elevated to varsity status for the 1997-98 academic year.
*- Nebraska’s seven tournament titles in 2003-04 equals a school record set by the 2001-02 Husker squad.
2004 NCAA Women’s Bowling Championship Results
Nebraska def. New Jersey City Univ., 4-3 (188-146, 245-140, 211-222, 171-183, 237-134, 184-200, 191-178)
Nebraska def. Central Missouri State, 4-2 (183-176, 168-200, 195-170, 212-212 (60-40), 168-203, 246-195)
Nebraska def. Central Missouri State, 4-2 (170-131, 160-208, 185-190, 239-150, 219-197 and 215-173)