Dallas, Texas –(NU Athletics Jan. 31)–The No. 4 Nebraska bowling team capped a strong finish to place third at the Prairie View Invitational on Sunday.
Nebraska changed its lineup over the last two days, winning seven of its final eight matches en route to a third-place showing against a field which included seven of the top 10 programs in the country.
“We shook up the lineup this week with very promising results,” said Head Coach Paul Klempa. “Everyone contributed at some point, but two players made their debuts as Husker starters and another made her first start at the anchor position of our lineup. To win seven of our last eight matches, including sweeping our matches in the finals bracket on Sunday, in a field as challenging as this one is a very good sign for the near future of Husker Bowling. We are a young team that is building up to something very special.”
The Huskers chose to have Gwen Maeha, Amara Smith Speights, Kayla Verstraete, Cassidy Ray and Crystal Elliott in the lineup for the entire day. This weekend marked Maeha’s debut with the team as a starter, where she finished eighth in individual standings, and Verstraete’s first career start, as she finished ninth overall. Coach Klempa and Assistant Coach Shannon Pluhowsky elected to switch Elliott to the team’s anchor position.
Top-ranked McKendree won the tournament by defeating No. 3 Arkansas State. NU placed third while No. 5 Sam Houston State and No. 10 Youngstown State rounded out the top five.
The bowling team found success early in the day, beating No. 9 Louisiana Tech 1,124-993. Heading into the matchup with momentum in its favor, NU won the first two games 196-138 and 206-145. Louisiana Tech fought back as it claimed the third game 193-210. As the score stood 2-1 in the Huskers’ favor, NU won the fourth game 193-181 while LA Tech took the fifth game 160-173. The bowlers took the 4-2 win with a 176-146 victory to proceed in the bracket.
Next up for the Huskers was No. 10 Youngstown State. The two teams fought hard, as NU took the first game 181-169 before YSU earned a 211-181 win in the second game. The teams split the next two games (181-176, 153-171) before NU earned a hard-fought victory by winning the last two games 178-153 and 188-142 en route to the 1,053-1,022 win.
The Huskers squared up against No. 5 Sam Houston State where they won 987-875 to claim third at the tournament. NU took the first three games (172-169, 196-166, 256-179) before SHSU bounced back with a narrow 198-199 win. The Huskers clinched the win with a 165-162 victory in the finale.
Nebraska will take a week off before returning to action at the Mid-Winter Invitational in Jonesboro, Ark., from Feb. 19-21.
Prairie View Invitational Final Standings
1. No.1 McKendree
2. No. 3 Arkansas State
3. No. 4 Nebraska
4. No. 5 Sam Houston State
5. No. 10 Youngstown State
7. No. 9 Louisiana Tech
8. No. 7 Stephen F Austin
9. Prairie View A&M
10. Texas Southern