BALTIMORE, Md.—No. 9 ranked New Jersey City University held off #12 ranked Kutztown University in an epic match that resulted in the first modified tiebreaker in school history and rallied from a 3-2 deficit to outlast Florida A&M University as the Gothic Knights placed fifth out of 26 schools at the Morgan State University Invitational.
On the final day of the two-day tournament, NJCU, the 2009-10 Northeast Conference regular champions, went 3-1, improving its overall season record to 60-26 for a .698 winning percentage. The Gothic Knights, ranked No. 9 nationally among Division I, II and III institutions, have assembled a remarkable 25-4 record since January 29.
Sophomore JENNIFER DAUNNO (Carteret, NJ/Carteret), who placed fourth of 166 keglers in the individual standings, and had a 18.969 frame average, .389 strike and remarkable .877 spare percentage during the weekend, earned All-Tournament Team accolades.
NJCU, which entered the final day seventh in the team standings, ended regulation in the same position. The Knights defeated Howard University in the opening quad-Baker match, 700-640, before dropping a 740-707 decision to #10 St. Francis College.
Delaware State, Kutztown, NJCU and FAMU, which placed fifth through eighth, respectively, in the regulation team standings, advanced to the fifth-place bracket, where each team bowled in two best 4-out-of-7 Baker series.
NJCU, in what 10th-year head coach FRANK PARISI described as “the match of the year” withstood Kutztown, 4.0 to 3.5 (209-171, 192-183, 153-154, 178-178, 152-201, 175-145, 166-201 (104-96)) in a semifinal series that extended into the first modified tie-breaker format since the NCAA eliminated ties in competition prior to the season.
In the fifth place match, the Knights took on #18 ranked Florida A&M, which swept #3 Delaware State University, 4-0, to advance. The Knights turned on the afterburners when it counted, rallying to win the series, 4-3 (178-169, 150-195, 199-179, 193-201, 148-203, 215-179, 200-196).
In the opening match, NJCU could have lost to Howard. NJCU, using a lineup of Daunno, freshman KELLY DAUNNO (Carteret, NJ/Carteret), senior CANDICE D’ANGELO (Coram, NY/Longwood (NY), junior NICOLE DREJERWSKI (Levittown, PA/Conwell-Egan Catholic), and senior anchor JENN MARMO (North Babylon, NY/North Babylon NY), won the opening game of the quad-Baker match, 154-144 and led by 39 pins after the second game, winning 172-147. But the Bison unleashed a huge third game, prevailing 234-152 to seize a 43-pin lead. However, the experienced NJCU squad would not be fazed, notching a 218 in the final game, and Howard fell back with a 115, as the Knights registered a 60-pin, 700-640 win. NJCU is 2-0 against Howard this season.
In the second match, the 10th ranked Terriers downed NJCU for the first time in four meetings this year, edging the Knights by 33 pins. St. Francis took an early 35-pin lead with a 205-170 game one margin, increasing the cushion to 69 pins, taking game two, 210-176. NJCU, which used the same lineup as the opening match, and SFC each rolled 177 scores in game three before the Knights won game four by 35 (184-149), but fell 740-707. NJCU finished with 6,509 regulation pins.
In the fifth-place bracket semifinals, met Kutztown, and escaped with its sixth win in nine meetings with the Golden Bears this year. In all, the two schools tallied the exact same number of pins in the series—1329 per school—and the match was as close as the pinfall.
The Knights took game one 209-171, as sophomore AMY BREHM (East Brunswick, NJ/East Brunswick) subbed for Kelly Daunno in the seventh frame of the opener. NJCU won game two, 192-183 for a 2-0 series lead before KU clipped the Knights by one pin, 154-153 in game three, and the clubs tied at 178-178 in game four.
KU tied the series at 2.5 to 2.5 with a 201-152 decision in game five. NJCU regained a 3.5 to 2.5 edge in the series in game six, winning 175-145. KU forced a tiebreaker, taking game seven, 201-166.
In past years, the two schools would have bowled a complete eighth game to break the deadlock, but a new NCAA rule established a modified Baker game to break the tie, with the schools bowling only frames six thru 10, allowing each member of the Baker lineup to throw one frame. NJCU would win the modified frame, 104-96, and Kelly Daunno, who subbed back in for Brehm in the seventh frame, tossed a strike. D’Angelo followed with a strike and Drejerwski had a nine-spare before Marmo sealed the win with a 10th frame spare and an additional nine count.
In the fifth place match, the lineup returned to the Daunno sisters, D’Angelo, Drejerwski and Marmo against FAMU, and the series again was a roller coaster ride for the Knights.
NJCU won the opening game 178-169 and FAMU tied it in game two, 195-150. The Knights regained a 2-1 series lead with a 199-179 win before the Rattlers took the next two, 201-193 and 203-148, for a 3-2 series lead. But NJCU dug deep and evened the series with an easy 215-179 victory in game six.
That set up the seventh and deciding game and NJCU, as the higher seed, had choice of lane assignments, and elected to stay in the lane where it had just shot a 215. That decision by Parisi, in a series where FAMU actually outshot NJCU by a 1,322 to 1,283 margin, paid dividends as the Knights prevailed by four pins, 200-196. In a tight game, Kelly Daunno, D’Angelo and Drejerwski combined for three consecutive strikes, solidifying the victory. NJCU is 3-1 vs. the Rattlers this year.
In the final regulation standings of the 26-team tournament—among the largest events in the nation—defending national champion and #8 ranked University of Nebraska led at 6,962, followed by UMES (6,915), #4 Fairleigh Dickinson University (6,881), SFC (6,799) and Delaware State (6,662). Kutztown was sixth (6,554) and NJCU seventh (6,509). FAMU (6,457), No. 7 Adelphi University (6,441), and #19 Norfolk State University (6,410) rounded out the Top 10. In the playoffs, Nebraska eventually won the event championship over second place FDU; UMES downed St. Francis for third place.
NJCU returns to action on Saturday and Sunday, March 6-7 at the sixth annual and 2010 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship in Howell, NJ. For the first time, NJCU—which is hosting the NCAA National Collegiate Championship from April 8-10—will not host the ECAC championship; FDU will run this season’s event.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!