JERSEY CITY—New Jersey City University honored its most successful team in the history of NCAA team sports—the 2007-08 Gothic Knight women’s bowling team—at a banquet on Oct. 22 at NJCU’s Gilligan Student Union Building. The 2008 team advanced to the Final Four at the National Collegiate Women’s Bowling Championship in April, before finishing third nationally among all Division I, II, and III programs in Omaha, Nebraska.
Nine players, two coaches and one team mentor all received Final Four rings to commemorate their accomplishments, in front of dozens of invited family members, program alumni, staff and administrators.
Led by eighth-year head coach Frank Parisi (Carteret), the three-time Division III National Coach of the Year, and accomplished professional bowler and assistant coach Rusty Thomsen (Morgan), the group became one of only four schools in all divisions to have appeared in every NCAA Championship since it began in 2004.
The 2008 Gothic Knights advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive year while reaching the Final Four for the third time—2004, 2006, and 2008. The 2004 team also finished third nationally. However, the 2008 club, which had an overall record of 89-37—the most of any team sport in school history—reached the national semifinals out of the winner’s bracket.
Other than the 2004, 2006 and 2008 bowling teams, only men’s basketball (1986, 1992) has reached the Final Four in an NCAA sponsored team sport.
The 2008 women’s bowling team was led by four-time All-American and three-time First-Team All-America standout Vicki Spratford (Hopelawn), who was named the Division III National Player of the Year for the second year in a row as a senior and received more votes than any player in Division I, II or III in All-America voting.
Two-time Honorable Mention All-American senior Kristina Figueiredo (Carteret) and sophomore Honorable Mention All-America selection Candice D’angelo (Coram, N.Y), were joined on the team by senior Amieé deNeuf (Hamburg), sophomores Nicole Hratko (Howell), Jenn Marmo (North Babylon, N.Y.) and Allisyn Yanuzzi (North Arlington), and freshmen Nicole Drejerwski (Levittown, Pa.) and Kerry Schmidt (Toms River).
At the 2008 championships, the Knights qualified as the No. 4 seed before defeating Minnesota State-Mankato in a best four-of-seven series, 4-1 in the first round of the NCAA double-elimination tournament.
In the second round, NJCU rallied from a 0-2-1 deficit to win four consecutive games and advanced further into the winner’s bracket with a 4-2-1 series victory over the University of Central Missouri.
That win catapulted the Knights into the national semifinals and NJCU needed just one more series victory to advance to the national finals on ESPN. After falling to Arkansas State University in the third round, 4-2, to force an elimination match in the national semifinals, NJCU built a 3-1 lead against ASU, before dropping the final three games, and the series, 4-3. Even with the loss, their third place finish matched the 2004 club for the best finish of any team in the history of NJCU.
In all, NJCU competed in 10 tournaments in 10 states, finishing third or better in the final eight events of the year.
It was an equally impressive year in the classroom for NJCU’s women’s bowling team. The combined grade point average of the nine bowlers was an impressive 3.350, earning the squad the Gothic Knight Team Academic Achievement Award for the fifth consecutive year since the award’s inception in 2003.
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