Pluhowsky Top Seed for PWBA Las Vegas Open

by Bob Johnson 0

Aaron Smith
USBC Communications

2015 USBC Queens Finals-0665.JPG

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, rolled through round-robin match play Sunday to capture the No. 1 seed for the stepladder finals of the Professional Women’s Bowling Association Las Vegas Open.

The stepladder finals of the PWBA Las Vegas Open, the opening event of the 2016 season, will be taped May 26 at The Orleans Bowling Center in Las Vegas and will air Tuesday, June 7 on CBS Sports Network.

Pluhowsky went 5-1 in match play and averaged nearly 250 in her final three games at Texas Station to run away from the field with a 5,551 total, including bonus pins.

“We’ve been bowling on all of these pairs for a few days, so when I went to a new pair I tried to just make a good shot and make the move right away,” said Pluhowsky, a 16-time Team USA member who is looking for her first PWBA title. “This performance gives me a lot of confidence going forward. Having to win one game is a lot better than having to climb the ladder, so we’ll take our chances.”

Mexico’s Sandra Gongora earned the No. 2 seed after firing a 275 game in the position round against reigning PWBA Player of the Year Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., to edge her by six pins with 5,453, including bonus pins.

The opening match of the stepladder finals will feature Johnson taking on Rocio Restrepo of Louisville, Ohio, after each advanced through their group stepladders.

Johnson earned her spot on the CBS Sports Network telecast by defeating PWBA spokesperson Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., 215-205. Kulick had the opportunity to throw three strikes in the 10th frame to shut out Johnson, but left the 2-4-8-10 split on her first shot and was unable to convert. Johnson advanced by covering the 10 pin and delivering a strike on her fill ball.

Restrepo, who led qualifying after the cashers’ round, took advantage of back-to-back splits from Singapore’s Hui Fen New by connecting on three consecutive strikes in frames six through eight to advance, 216-189.

The opening matches in the group stepladder saw Kulick best Singapore’s Jazreel Tan, 239-193, to set up the meeting with Johnson. New advanced by defeating Carolyn Dorin-Ballard of Keller, Texas, 268-225.

Sunday’s competition kicked off with a six-game block that narrowed the field from the 32 cashers to the top 12 players for round-robin match play. The match-play finalists were split into two groups, each featuring six players. Each group bowled six games of match play, including a final position round, to determine the top seeds and advancers to each group stepladder final.

Every round of competition leading to the stepladder final was broadcast live on Xtra Frame.

For more information on the PWBA, visit PWBA.com. To subscribe to watch the action on Xtra Frame, visit XtraFrame.TV.

PWBA Las Vegas Open
At Texas Station, North Las Vegas, Nev.
Sunday’s results

CASHERS’ ROUND
(18-game totals; top 12 advance)

1, Rocio Restrepo, Louisville, Ohio, 4,123.
2, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 4,076.
3, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 4,029.
4, Sandra Gongora, Mexico, 3,995.
5, Hui Fen New, Singapore, 3,932.
6, Jazreel Tan, Singapore, 3,920.
7, Amanda Greene, Romney, W.Va., 3,896.
8, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 3,888.
9, Stefanie Johnson, Grand Prairie, Texas, 3,849.
10, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 3,830.
11, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Keller, Texas, 3,828.
12, Shayna Ng, Singapore, 3,820.

DID NOT ADVANCE 
(13th earns $1,300; 14-32 earn $1,200)

13, Shannon O’Keefe, O’Fallon, Ill., 3,818.
14, Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif., 3,817.
15, Cassandra Leuthold, Lincoln, Neb., 3,811.
16, Cherie Tan, Singapore, 3,802.
17, Jodi Woessner, Oregon, Ohio, 3,786.
18, Kristina Szczerbinski, North Tonawanda, N.Y., 3,781.
19, T’Nia Falbo, Greensburg, Pa., 3,776.
20, Kristina Wendell, Kingston, N.Y., 3,762.
21, Lynda Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 3,757.
22, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 3,754.
23, Ashly Galante, Palm Harbor, Fla., 3,738.
24, Karen Marcano, Venezuela, 3,736.
25, Brenda Padilla, Mansfield, Texas, 3,723.
26, Liz Kuhlkin, Schenectady, N.Y., 3,714.
27, Maria Jose Rodriguez, Austin, Texas, 3,677.
28, Mariana Ayala, Grand Prairie, Texas, 3,653.
29, Leanne Hulsenberg, Pleasant View, Utah, 3,651.
30, Jennifer Higgins, Westerville, Ohio, 3,650.
31, Brandi Branka, Fairview Heights, Ill., 3,632.
32, Elysia Current, Ephrata, Pa., 3,621.

MATCH PLAY – GROUP A

1, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 5-1, 5,551 (earns No. 1 seed for stepladder based on total pinfall).
2, Rocio Restrepo, Louisville, Ohio, 1-5, 5,297.
3, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Keller, Texas, 5-1, 5,287.
4, Hui Fen New, Singapore, 2-4, 5,261.
5, Amanda Greene, Romney, W.Va., 4-2, 5,204 (eliminated; earns $1,600).
6, Stefanie Johnson, Grand Prairie, Texas, 1-5, 5,088 (eliminated; earns $1,600).

MATCH PLAY – GROUP B

1, Sandra Gongora, Mexico, 3-3, 5,453 (earns No. 2 seed for stepladder based on total pinfall).
2, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 2-4, 5,447.
3, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 4-2, 5,339.
4, Jazreel Tan, Singapore, 3-3, 5,299.
5, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 4-2, 5,275 (eliminated; earns $1,600).
6, Shayna Ng, Singapore, 2-4, 5,118 (eliminated; earns $1,600).

GROUP A STEPLADDER

Semifinal –– New def. Dorin-Ballard, 268-225 (Dorin-Ballard finishes tied for seventh; earns $1,900).

Final – Restrepo def. New, 216-189 (Restrepo earns No. 4 seed for stepladder based on average; New finishes tied for fifth; earns $2,100).

GROUP B STEPLADDER

Semifinal – Kulick def. Tan, 239-193 (Tan finishes tied for seventh; earns $1,900).

Final – L. Johnson def. Kulick, 215-205 (L. Johnson earns No. 3 seed for stepladder based on average; Kulick finishes tied for fifth; earns $2,100).

TELEVISED STEPLADDER FINALS
(Will be taped May 26; will air June 7 on CBS Sports Network)

Match No. 1 – L. Johnson vs. Restrepo
Match No. 2 – Gongora vs. Match No. 1 winner
Final – Pluhowsky vs. Match No. 2 winner

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.