By Marc Weems
With a new head coach and a new season upon us, the Youngstown State University women’s bowling team has big plans this season.
“The girls are talented. It’s about getting them to the best of their ability,” YSU Interim Head Coach Clint Daley said. “I have no doubt they will. We have to figure that out on tournament days. They did good on their first day of Reading tournament. We were 3-0 after the first day. We had top pinfall of the tournament at that point. We feel down in one match.”
Daley said the team fell from first to 10th in total pinfall after a 152-pin loss to Mount St. Mary’s College in the final match of the day
“It was as important as any first tournament. I knew the girls other than freshmen class,” he said. “It’s no surprise that we were where we were at the time. We expected to be where we were. It just didn’t work out. We were dumbfounded as to what happened.”
The Penguins are trying to establish themselves as one of the best teams in their new conference, the Southland Conference, as the season begins.
As of March 18, 2018, everyone in the Southland Conference was either ranked or just outside the top 25 in the National Tenpin Coaches Association. That will be stiff competition for the Penguins this year.
The NTCA came out with its yearly preseason poll. YSU was voted right outside the top 25 at No. 26. Valparaiso University was voted at No. 27. Arkansas State University, Louisiana Tech University, Sam Houston State University, Stephen F. Austin State University, Tulane University and Vanderbilt University are all ranked within the top 17 of the country.
“I do a lot of trying to simulate game time experiences,” Daley said. “When you go to a college tournament, you sometimes have 20, 25 and even 30 teams there with 10 to 15 players each. You can barely think it is so loud. It is tough to duplicate. We lean on our one senior and four juniors. Simulating in practice is important.”
The Penguins have three tough tournaments ahead that can determine how good or bad this season will be.
It starts with the Track Kat Klash hosted by conference foe, Sam Houston State, on Nov. 2 through 4. After that, YSU goes to the Warhawk Classic from No. 9 through 11 hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Between Nov. 16 through 18, YSU goes to the Hawk Classic Invitational hosted by the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore.
“This weekend is a good limits test. Sam Houston is in the tournament,” Daley said. “We need to go in there and show we are for real. It is the third year and we have to start knocking on people’s doors.”
Daley mentioned that one issue YSU had in their first two tournaments was their spare conversion rate.
“The thing that hurt this program in the first and second year came up in our first tournament. The goal is to have our miss rate down to 5 to 10 percent. We had 126 open frames out of 500 frames. That is nearly 25 percent. You can’t compete against the upper echelon. It is impossible to compete that way.”
Daley said they are going to rework on basic fundamentals. He wants the team to get down to 10 percent on that.
“This week and the next three tourneys are going to set the pace. If we have a tournament like Reading, we won’t succeed,”he said. We had it in our grasp. Hopefully they can get that opportunity again and won’t let that slip through our hands again.”