Fayetteville State Settles for Runner-Up as BSU Rallies 4-3 for the Championship Crown

March 25, 2018

Virginia Beach, VA – Fayetteville State University entered the CIAA Bowling Championship Tournament as the Southern Division Champion, but that title only helped with seeding. In a title bout with the Northern Division Champion, Bowie State University, the Broncos lost the momentum of a 3-1 lead to witness the Bulldogs claim its fourth consecutive CIAA title in the best of seven series.

CIAA Bowler of the Year Savannah Starling (Fayetteville, NC – Cape Fear HS) was named to the All-Tournament Team.

On the first day of the double-elimination tournament, Fayetteville State swept Livingstone, 4-0. The Broncos knocked Virginia State to the loser’s bracket in the second round with a 4-2 win and had its first meeting against Bowie State in the third round. The Bulldogs earned a two-round break after defeating the Broncos 4-3. Fayetteville State dropped in the bracket to the fifth round to await the winner of the VSU-Virginia Union matchup.

On the final day of competition, Savannah Starling got her wish of a rematch against Virginia State in the Semi-Finals.

“It’s easier to get into their heads,” said Starling. “As long as we make our shots, we know we can count on them not to make their necessary shots and we can come out on top.”

The Broncos jumped to a quick 3-0 lead over the Trojans by scores of 175-135, 151-135, and 199-159. Virginia State captured the fourth game with a 174-164 Baker-score. FSU advanced to the championship round with a 159-128 pin advantage in the fifth set.

Having rested for two rounds, the undefeated Bulldogs defeated the Broncos 196-116 in the first set of the championship round. Fayetteville State found its rhythm in the second set with a nine-pin advantage (161-152) and captured a 2-1 lead with a 187-171 third set. Everything seemed to fall into place for FSU with a 3-1 lead after defeating BSU by 11 pins, 157-146.

The Broncos needed just one more victory to give Bowie State its first tournament loss and force the championship into its sudden-death series.

Bowie State responded to the adversity with a 172-121 win to remain alive 3-2 in the best of seven series. The Bulldogs tied the series at 3-3 following a 163-152 victory.

Frustrated with the turn of events, Fayetteville State battled closely in the final set. In the seventh frame, Veronica Colon-Santiago (Hope Mills, NC) laid down the third strike of the set for a 106-102 Bronco lead.

Both teams had spares in the eighth frame. Bowie State began the spare with nine pins down while FSU had knocked down eight. With seven pins falling for both teams on the first ball of the ninth frame, Fayetteville State held on to a 140-128 lead. FSU had a difficult 6-7-10 setup while BSU faced a 2-4-5 arrangement. On the second roll, Bowie State cleaned house with a spare while the Broncos left a 6-7 split standing.

Bowie State entered the 10th frame with cheers, trailing 141-131 to the silent Broncos. Sophomore Savannah Starling was FSU’s anchor while junior bowler Diamond Carter stepped up for the Bulldogs.

Stepped-up is exactly what Carter did with a strike and a 151-148 lead on her first ball. Starling left three pins standing on her first roll. Carter delivered a second strike as Savannah cleaned up her pins. Ahead 161-151, the eventual Tournament MVP celebrated the victory with her teammates with the 170-161 win after knocking down nine pins on her final ball. Starling finished with a strike.




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