NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Despite five competitors combining for a program-record perfect Baker game, the Louisiana Tech women’s bowling team’s run at the 2021 National Collegiate Women’s Bowling Championship was cut short on Wednesday.
Losses to Youngstown State and playoff-savvy Sam Houston State ended the Techsters’ NCAA Tournament experience as they stood among the top 16 teams in the country.
“Coming into today, we were gelling pretty well as a team,” said Tech coach Matt Nantais. “We had a pretty good practice session and everybody was confident.
“Then today coming in, they got tight. Getting here in itself is a big accomplishment, but it hurts to lose when you know we didn’t have our best effort of the year. One positive is we shot the third-ever perfect game in our Baker match against Sam Houston.”
There’s an understatement. It hadn’t happened at the national championships since 2007.
Louisiana Tech opened the tournament with a 2-0 loss to Youngstown State. Youngstown State won the traditional match, 966-918, to take the early 1-0 lead. Sophomore Danielle Jedlicki led the Lady Techsters individually in the traditional match with a 215.
LA Tech trailed by 55 pins after the first four Baker games, 803-748. The Lady Techsters won the final Baker game, 197-171, but lost the match by 29 pins, 974-945, as Youngstown State won the Mega Match, 2-0.
The Lady Techsters then took on Sam Houston State in an elimination match. Sam Houston won the traditional match, 1,160-946, to take a 1-0 lead. Senior Kaitlyn Eder led the Lady Techsters individually during the traditional contest with a 222.
Louisiana Tech won the first Baker game by 14 pins, 193-179, to take an early lead in the second match.
Sam Houston trimmed the lead to eight after winning the second game, 193-187. LA Tech came out strong in the third game to extend its lead to 56 pins with a 218-170 victory. Sam Houston won the next two Bakers, 194-187 and 196-189, but LA Tech would win the overall match by 42 pins, 974-932, to tie the Mega Match up at 1-1.
The teams then competed in a best-of-seven Baker contest. Sam Houston won the first three Baker games, 211-168, 225-219 and 213-203.
Then, under do-or-die pressure, Eder, senior Ashley Channell, junior Lindsay Manning, junior Emily Rettig and sophomore Allie Leiendecker made history. It was the first perfect Baker game in program history as they registered 12 straight strikes to win the fourth game, 300-183.
More remarkable: the quintet recorded the third perfect Baker game in NCAA Championship history and the first since Vanderbilt in 2007.
Sam Houston secured its 2-1 victory following a 179-171 win in the fifth Baker game.
However, the season isn’t done.
Louisiana Tech will next compete at the USBC Sectionals in Dallas, Texas, from April 16-18.
“Our season’s not over,” Nantais said. “We have one more championship to win. We will get back on campus and evaluate this past week and move forward. I’m proud of everything that we have done as a team. This will sting for a little bit, but we have to put it behind us and move forward.”