Hawks fall to NC A&T, will need to navigate the tough path to the title match
Eastern Shore faces No. 2 seeds Delaware State in a 9 a.m. rematch
VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia — Saturday’s (March 26) Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship battle with North Carolina A&T State was frustrating for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore on several levels.
First, whether it was because of nerves or just a tough start, it took several games for the Hawks to find any rhythm on the lanes at Pin Boys in Virginia Beach. Second, once they found their way, the Aggies were always just one step ahead in a 2-0 Mega match loss.
“You are going to get that when you are bowling a Top 10 team in the country,” Petrin said. “We knew coming in that they are a damn good team. To beat a team like that you have to bowl like a damn good team. Today wasn’t our best effort. You aren’t always going to be at your best, but the moment makes it feel worse.”
The moment gives A&T a pass to Sunday’s 2 p.m. final that will be broadcast on ESPNU via re-air on Sunday, April 3 at 5:30 p.m., leading into ESPN’s coverage of the NCAA women’s basketball championship game.
Meanwhile, the Hawks (73-49) will face off with No. 2 seed Delaware State at 9 a.m. on Sunday to see who will join them in the final. The Hornets battled back from a loss to the Shore on Friday to advance to the consolation bracket final with a 2-0 Mega match win against Monmouth on Saturday.
“We were the No. 3 seed, so we weren’t supposed to get there the easy way,” Petrain said. “This wasn’t the important one to win. If we are only going to beat A&T once in this event, then we want it to be in the final anyway. You win the final tomorrow and that’s it.”
As the Traditional match started, scoring was extremely slow as both teams looked to find their way on the lanes, but also shake loose any lingering nerves.
“It was clear we were nervous and we were tight,” Petrin said. “Both teams were. It wasn’t an easy start for either team. I remember talking to (A&T coach) Kim (Terrell-Kearney) and we were through 12 frames of bowling and we had six splits combined. Unfortunately, we had four of them.”
By the third frame, both teams seemed to be opening things up, but the Aggies had more bowlers who looked comfortable.
“It’s really hard to get something going when it is like that and then when you start splitting on what you feel are close shots or good shots and we haven’t seen that happen all weekend then you start second-guessing your shapes. I think that the girls were second-guessing their shot-making, but we weren’t really coming up with any solutions for getting out of those shapes quicker either.”
Eastern Shore juniors Elizabeth Ross (Schenectady, New York) and Brooke Roberts (Port Orange Florida) each found their lines to varying degrees, but beyond that, the Hawks struggled. Petrin turned to his one available substitute late in the Traditional match with Brooke Driver (replacing) Alejandra Amezcua (Baja California, Mexico) in the No. 4 hole before Roberts. Driver ended the match with two spares, two strikes, and an eight.
Roberts finished with a 240 and Ross a 200 to pace the Hawks, but in the end, the Aggies were up 1089-923.
“By the end of the first game we made some adjustments and things got better, but it was the end of the game and by that point, we were pretty far behind,” Petrin said.
Things got worse to begin the total pinfall Baker portion of the match as the Aggies jumped to a quick 201-169 lead after one game. The Hawks shaved two pins off the lead after the second game, but each time it seemed as if a run by The Shore would cut into the A&T advantage, a split or an open or both would derail things as the Aggies would finish strong. Then, despite a 206 in the fourth game for Eastern Shore, a 238 by A&T pushed the advantage to 72 pins and they went on to a 1077-940 victory to take the Mega match.
“We have lost to this team before,” Petrin said. “We have lost too many top teams this year. But we have also beaten them and we still have a winning record against A&T this season. The girls are going to be flustered and angry the rest of the night. But let them be angry and once morning comes around it’s a completely different day and we’re here to bowl.”
The Hawks also still have a winning record against the Hornets which they will need to get past early just to get another shot at the Aggies.
“It’s just about reminding the girls that we have the capability of playing with anybody,” Petrin said. “Let’s not lose track of that and let’s get after it tomorrow.”
For more information on Eastern Shore Athletics visit http://www.easternshorehawks.com/.