April 21, 2001:
Party Like It's 1999: Nebraska And Western Illinois Back On Top
04/21/2001 - by Jeff Piroozshad (BowlingFans.com Volunteer Contributor)
Grand Rapids, MI -- Two years ago, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln women's bowling team and the Western Illinois University men's bowling team were on top of the world, crowned as the 1999 Intercollegiate Bowling Champions. After two years of waiting, both schools regained their past glory, taking the 2001 IBC's at Spectrum Lanes in Grand Rapids, MI.
Both UNL and WIU advanced to the final round via the winner's bracket, going undefeated in the double elimination competition of the previous day and a half. The Nebraska Lady Cornhuskers, led by head coach Bill Straub, defeated Erie Community College four games to three in the best-of-seven competition. They followed that with a 4-2 victory over California State-Fresno and a 4-2 victory over Arizona State University.
After Arizona State defeated Wichita State University to emerge from the loser's bracket, they got a rematch with Nebraska. Because Nebraska was undefeated to that point, ASU needed to defeat them in two best-of-sevens to win the title while Nebraska only needed to win one. It would not be that easy for the Huskers, though, as the Arizona State Sun Devils took the first set in seven games, led by tournament Most Valuable Player Amy Rocco-Stolz. Arizona had a large crown behind them, many of their supporters their college bowling peers. It was not enough, however, as Nebraska was too much to handle. Shannon Pluhowsky, the 2001 BWAA College Player of the Year sealed the victory by converting a 7-pin after striking in the tenth frame of the fifth game giving the Huskers a 181-180 victory and their fifth IBC championship overall.
The men's championship match followed, pitting the Western Illinois University Leathernecks against the Seminoles of Florida State University. Western Illinois advanced to the championship match by beating Michigan State University in seven games, and then Kansas in six. The Leathernecks then disposed of St. John's University in a grueling seven game match, enabling them to bowl for the title. Florida State University was one set from elimination for most of the tournament. FSU won their first set against San Jose State University four games to two, but then was knocked into the loser's bracket by Wichita State University in six games. It was at that point the Seminoles made their push, eliminating what amounts to a who's who in collegiate bowling. After defeating Erie Community College, last year's IBC runners-up, and then San Jose State again, Florida State racked off one upset victory after another. The first to go was the University of Kansas in six games. They then exacted revenge on Wichita State University in seven games. FSU followed that up with a four games to zero demolishing of St. John's University, the number two team in the country, propelling them into the finals.
The Seminoles needed to defeat Western Illinois twice to win the title. The Leathernecks, led by first team All-American and Tournament Most Valuable Player Derek Sapp, fell into a three games to one hole before starting to catch fire. In danger of losing their first set of the tournament, they were able to figure out lanes 21-22 and win the next three games straight. Sapp closed the deal with a 10th frame strike, giving him his first IBC title and WIU's second.
The All-Tournament team for the women consisted of MVP Rocco-Stolz, Runner-up Marrisha Freeman of Shippensburg University, Pluhowsky, Amy Dillon of Wichita State, Robin Crawford of Morehead State and Brandi Wolfe of Arizona State. The men's team was MVP Sapp, Runner-up Nathan Bohr of Wichita State, Florida State's Tony Corrao, Josh Keller of Michigan State and David Eisenberg of St. John's University.