DAYTON, Ohio – The Robert Morris-Illinois women continued their comeback ways in Saturday’s title match at the 2019 Intercollegiate Team Championships and Webber International’s senior anchor closed his college career with a title at Poelking Lanes South.
Saturday’s championship matches were taped for broadcast on CBS Sports Network. The women’s final will be televised May 7 at 8 p.m. Eastern and the men’s final will air May 14 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
The women’s title match not only went to a deciding fifth game, but also come down to the last bowler, Robert Morris-Illinois senior Courtney Ermisch.
Needing two strikes and seven pins to give her team the title, Ermisch struck on her first shot and buried the second. She then put down nine more pins for a 183-177 victory and the title.
“That is the stuff that, in your dream, you need a double or three to win it, and you get it,” Ermisch said. “Obviously, winning a title has been a dream forever and this is insane. I don’t have words right now. I’m still shaking, still speechless.”
When the Eagles, comprised of Ermisch, Mattie Brandos, Molly Brandos, Britney Brown, Morgan Petrin, Megan Macunovich, Danyell Chupp, and Veronica Dreyfus, lost the first two games of the women’s championship match, it simply put them in a familiar position.
The team lost the opening game of all but one of its five matches leading up to the title.
But in Game 3, the Eagles took advantage of two single-pin misses by McKendree for a 212-185 win, and posted seven strikes in a 217-181 Game 4 victory to force a deciding game.
“I think the spark of it being ‘now or never’ is kind of where we thrived,” said Ermisch, who was selected as the tournament’s most valuable player. “We didn’t have another game to wait, it was either go-time or time to go home. In this team, we never give up, we never quit.”
Joining Ermisch on the all-tournament team were McKendree’s Breanna Clemmer, Alexis Neuer of Delaware State, Lindenwood’s Haley Cummings and Olivia Farwell of Duquesne. Farwell also was selected as the Chris Stoehr Sportsmanship Award winner.
In the men’s title match, Webber International snagged a 179-176 victory in Game 1 behind senior Matt Russo’s three-strike 10th frame. It forced Lawrence Tech’s Kyle McGrath to double to win, and McGrath buried the first shot, but he left a 4 pin on the second delivery.
Lawrence Tech again had a chance to shut out Webber in the final frame of Game 2, but an open frame again opened the door for Russo. Needing to fill 19 pins for the win, Russo struck on his first offering, left a 3-7 split on the second shot and clipped the 3 pin on the fill for a 150-149 victory.
In Game 3, Webber sandwiched an open frame and a spare between six strikes during the first eight frames, but Lawrence Tech wouldn’t go quietly despite some struggles. After a strike in the ninth, Lawrence Tech filled 20 pins in the 10th frame to set the stage for Webber.
Needing a mark to secure the Helmer Cup, Russo stepped up in the 10th frame and buried a strike on his first offering to give the program its second ITC title. Webber won the game 209-181.
“I just kept telling the guys to give me a shot,” said Russo, who was selected at the tournament’s most valuable player. “I like those clutch moments. When something means so much to me, I find a way to dig deep. It’s the type of bowling I like to pride myself on.”
Along with Russo, the Warriors’ ITC team consisted of Evan Baranecky, Adam Glickman, Tom Hankey, Brennan Haugh, Nash Medico, Maxx Tamburrino and Adam Zimmerman.
In addition to Russo and McGrath, selected to the men’s all-tournament team were Pete Vergos of Calumet, Josh Pate of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Bryan Hahlen of McKendree. The Chris Stoehr Sportsmanship Award winner went to Wichita State’s Wesley Low.
The 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams at the ITC qualified by finishing in the top four at one of four sectional events held in March. At the national tournament, teams bowled 24 Baker qualifying games to determine seeding for the double-elimination bracket, which featured best-of-seven Baker matches leading up to the title matches, where best-of-five finals.
BowlTV.com provided live coverage of qualifying and match-play rounds leading up to the televised finals.
Visit BOWL.com/ITC for more information on the Intercollegiate Team Championships.
2019 INTERCOLLEGIATE TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Poelking Lanes South, Dayton, Ohio
SATURDAY’S RESULTS (Best-of-five)
Webber International def. Lawrence Tech, 3-0 (179-176, 150-149, 209-181)
Robert Morris-Illinois def. McKendree, 3-2 (205-230, 165-177, 212-185, 217-181, 183-177)