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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Three Hawks earn All-MEAC Bowling honors

College Bowling

Three Hawks earn All-MEAC Bowling honors

Awards voted on by league’s coaches and SIDs

PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland — With just days before its time to begin competing for a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship for the first time in two years, three University of Maryland Eastern Shore bowlers grabbed individual honors.

Junior Brooke Roberts (Port Orange, Florida) was voted First-Team All-MEAC, while classmate Elizabeth Ross (Schenectady, New York) earned Second-Team honors and graduate student Paulina Torres (Ponce, Puerto Rico) made the Third-Team.

The awards are voted on by the league’s coaches and Sports Information Directors and while all three put up great numbers this season it’s what they mean to each other and their teammates that seem to tell the bigger story.

“It’s very exciting because it’s my first one and my last year,” Torres said. “I thought about it at the beginning of the season, but then when you start bowling you just focus on bowling your best.”

Torres leads the team infill percentage (86.4%), spare conversion percentage (75.9%), makeable spare percentage (86.4), single-pin average (88.8%) and is second in overall average (197.8). She is the only member of the Hawks roster with more than two years of experience in college bowling.

“She is the leader,” Ross said. “She is the one with the most experience and she has been the one taking the ones with less experience under her wing.”

That all started during a rough 2020-21 athletic year when the University opted out of competition due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Then former coach Kayla Bandy resigned to focus on a new career and it was Torres who began to try to keep the team on the same page through a coaching search, a return to competition under new leadership, and now into their first postseason.

“She has really stepped up into the leadership position and I really admire that,” Roberts said. “She definitely brings the experience to the team. With her being a graduate student this year, she has been through it the most and she knows how it is. She is always the one who is trying to keep us positive throughout the entire competition. The words of wisdom she gives us is something I truly love about this team.”

Ross is second on the team in spare percentage (70.9%), single-pin percentage (88.4%), and third in overall average (194.7), fill percentage (83.6%), strike percentage (43.9%), and makeable spare percentage (80.0%).

“It hit me by surprise,” Ross said of the MEAC honor. “I kind of forgot all about it. We have just been completely focused on the team honestly.”

Despite this being her first season on the lanes for the Hawks she quickly carved out a role and began putting up numbers.

“She is the only lefty, so there is that,” Torres said with a laugh. “She brings a lot to our team. She is super energized. She often bowls leadoff, so she brings us energy when we start. But she also brings us calm when we need it.”

Ross spent two years at Vanderbilt — including a redshirt season — before transferring to Eastern Shore the Aviation Sciences program prior to 2020-21.

“Liz has brought a lot of fire to the team,” Roberts said. “She’s been really good and really solid — especially with her spare shooting. She has really been one of those pieces where if we don’t have a good look on the right side she is there with the left side. She just nails it all the time.”

This is far from the first honor for Roberts, who was the MEAC Rookie of the Year and Second-Team All-MEAC as a freshman in 2019-20.

“At the beginning of the year, I wanted this honor because of the last season not being there,” Roberts said. “But as the postseason approached, I was just focused on the team itself and just trying to get in a good position so we could get selected for the NCAA Championships. The awards kind of just left my mind.”

Roberts began her year by winning the prestigious 2020 Junior Gold U20 title and earning a spot on Junior Team USA and just built from there.

“She has been bowling really good the entire year,” Torres said. “She is killing it at this point. She is our anchor bowler, so she is obviously one of the main pieces. She is always focused and energized and brings the best to our team.”

The two-time MEAC Bowler of the Week this season leads the team in overall average (208.7) and strike percentage (53.8%), while she is second infill percentage (86.3%) and makeable spare percentage (83.0%) and third in spare percentage (70.4%) and single pin percentage (87.3%).

“She is a shot-maker,” Ross said. “She is the one you rely on to be really clutch in those moments when you need it. She has so much composure in those tough moments.”

While half the players on The Shore roster were voted honors, head coach Roger Petrin knows they didn’t get there on their own.

“It is very difficult to achieve an individual award if there isn’t buy-in on the team, especially with just six players,” Petrin said. “One person or two not being on the same page can do a lot of damage to the team. Obviously, we went through a big change with a new coaching staff and everything that came with it, we had a couple of people leave and all the other things that occurred over the summer. It would have been very easy for them to come in and make excuses. But we are still capable of doing tough things and that is what we did.

“We had a tough start and we were able to learn about ourselves and do things on the fly. They were learning me and my system and I was learning them and their systems and trying to create one unit. I’m super proud of Brooke, Liz, and Paulina, but I am also proud of the other three bowlers. Without them we don’t have this team.”

For more information on Eastern Shore Athletics visit http://www.easternshorehawks.com/.

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