LINCOLN, Neb. – The McKendree men’s team won a national title for the second time in three years and the Lindenwood women’s team captured the second title in its program history at the 2018 Intercollegiate Team Championships at Sun Valley Lanes on Saturday.
McKendree, making its third consecutive appearance in the men’s title match, took a 3-1 victory over Robert Morris-Illinois in the best-of-five Baker final. The Lindenwood women beat defending ITC champion McKendree, 3-1.
The championship matches were taped for broadcast on CBS Sports Network. The women’s final will be televised on May 10 at 8 p.m. Eastern and the men’s final will air May 15 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Robert Morris-Illinois took the opening game of the men’s title match, 226-193, but the McKendree men came back with a 187-173 win in Game 2. Needing a strike and eight pins to even the series, sophomore anchor Charlie Reid buried all three shots.
“That was clutch,” said McKendree coach Dennis Knepper. “That was the turning point. But, seriously, these guys knew he was going to do it. You could feel it from the team. He just looked like he had all the confidence in the world. It was awesome.”
While the Bearcats produced three strikes in the first five frames of Game 3, the Eagles produced just one strike in the first seven frames. Both teams used the final frame to try possible adjustments as McKendree took the game, 181-159, but Robert Morris-Illinois’ struggles continued into Game 4.
Senior Billy Goodman then capped McKendree’s four-strike run in the eighth frame as the Bearcats won Game 4, 195-160, to win the Helmer Cup.
“The feeling we had last year after we lost, that was something we didn’t want to experience again,” Reid said. “Coming into today, we just wanted to fill frames and execute shots the best we can. If the pins fall in our favor, they fall in our favor. It’s bowling … you just never know what’s going to happen.”
The Lindenwood women’s team, which won its first title 12 years ago, started slow against defending ITC champion McKendree managing just two strikes in the opening game in a 191-177 loss.
But the Lions would rebound to win the next three games, including an unlikely victory in Game 2.
The Lions built an early lead in Game 2 as the Bearcats had three consecutive open frames. But the Bearcats stormed back with four consecutive strikes and had the chance to close out the game. However, a 2-10 split in the final frame opened the door for the Lions, who took advantage for a 183-178 victory to tie the best-of-five series at a game apiece.
“We were huddling, getting ready because we’ve been down 2-0 before,” Lindenwood coach Phil Vida said. “When that door was opened a little bit, it was like a wave of confidence came over and we took advantage.”
The Lions would take Game 3, 200-181, and then take the Helmer Cup with a 226-190 victory in Game 4.
“Everything I’ve ever dreamed of for my collegiate career, and how I wanted it to end, it just ended in a perfect way,” said Lions senior Amanda Garavet, who was selected Most Valuable Player of the women’s tournament. “I think we were really confident coming in on the bus this morning. We told each other we could do it and we trust each other.”
Garavet was joined on the women’s all-tournament team by Sacred Heart’s Tori Boughton, McKendree’s Breanna Clemmer, Kayla Crawford of St. Ambrose, and Stephanie Schwartz of Stephen F. Austin.
Kenny Ryan of Robert Morris-Illinois earned MVP honors in the men’s division. Joining him on the men’s all-tournament team were Lindenwood’s Michael Coffey, Josh Pate of Wisconsin-Whitewater, William Paterson’s Jake Rollins and McKendree’s Greg Young.
Ryan and freshman Katelyn Jones of Savannah College of Art and Design-Savannah were the recipients of the Chris Stoehr Sportsmanship Award.
The 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams earned their way into the ITC field by finishing in the top four at one of four sectional events held in March. At the national tournament, all teams bowled 24 Baker qualifying games Thursday to determine seeding for the double-elimination bracket, which featured best-of-seven Baker matches leading up to the finals.
BOWL.com’s BowlTV provided live coverage of the event leading up to the televised finals.
Visit BOWL.com/ITC for more information on the Intercollegiate Team Championships.
2018 INTERCOLLEGIATE TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Sun Valley Lanes, Lincoln, Neb.
McKendree def. Robert Morris-Illinois, 3-1 (193-226, 187-173, 181-159, 195-160)
Lindenwood def. McKendree, 3-1 (177-191, 183-178, 200-181, 226-190)