Finalists Set for 2015 Intercollegiate Team Championships

by Gianmarc Manzione 0

Aaron Smith
IBC Communications

WICHITA, Kan. - The Robert Morris-Illinois women will look to defend their title at the 2015 XBowling Intercollegiate Team Championships against North Carolina A&T, while Wichita State will face off against Midland in the men's title match.

Four teams from a field of the top 32 collegiate programs in the country made their way through the double-elimination match-play bracket Friday at Northrock Lanes to make the nationally televised finals. CBS Sports Network will air the women's final May 18 at 7 p.m. Eastern, and the men's final will air May 25 at 7 p.m. ET.

The Robert Morris-Illinois women captured their first Intercollegiate Team Championships at the 2014 event in Reno, Nevada, and despite losing six of the eight players from that team, they cruised through match play without a loss. The Eagles defeated Wichita State, 4-1, to secure their spot in the championship match.

The Robert Morris-Illinois Eagles continue their quest to hoist the Kerm Helmer Cup again this year
The Robert Morris-Illinois Eagles continue their quest to hoist the Kerm Helmer Cup again this year

"I can't believe it," Robert Morris-Illinois senior Leea Haworth said. "Tomorrow, we'll just need to relax and stay within ourselves like last year. If we take it one frame at a time, we can get it done."

The North Carolina A&T women made their first ITC appearance since 2001 and made sure to make the most of the opportunity as they finished match play undefeated. The Aggies bested St. Francis-Illinois, 4-0, to make the title tilt.

"It's crazy," North Carolina A&T junior Emily Strombeck said. "We've been working hard to get ready for this and knew we had a chance. This is an amazing group of girls. We went undefeated, but we'll have to let that go because tomorrow is a clean slate. We have to make good shots, cover our spares and just keep doing what we've been doing all year long."

After just missing the finals at the 2014 ITC, the Wichita State men finished undefeated in match play and now will look to add a record 11th ITC title to their trophy case. The Shockers bested defending champion Lindenwood, 4-2, in the semifinals.

"Last year was rough, but we were able to make it this year because this is a strong program with a great group of coaches and players," said Wichita State senior Francois Lavoie, who captured the 2014 XBowling Intercollegiate Singles Championships title. "Anytime you're able to make it to a TV final is great, but to be able to do it with all of the hometown support was icing on the cake."

Midland earned the top seed after Thursday's qualifying round and were undefeated until the semifinals, falling to Calumet, 4.5-1.5. In the deciding best-of-seven match, the Warriors rallied after losing the first game to take the last four games and the spot in the championship match, 4-1.

"We didn't want to go to an extra match, but made some shots and really buckled down," Midland senior Neil Cooley said. "It's surreal. We're going to work off of all the positives we've had this week, and hopefully take care of the thing we came here to do."

A total of four television shows will be taped Saturday starting at 10 a.m. ET, with the men's and women's semifinals and finals of the XBowling Intercollegiate Singles Championships also taking place. The women's singles show will air May 4 at 7 p.m. ET, while the men's singles show will air May 11 at 7 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.

For more information on the 2015 XBowling Intercollegiate Team Championships, visit BOWL.com/ITC.

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