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Huskers Bring Home Silver in Illinois

Written byJayven Brandt

Lockport, ILL.- On the final day of the Lewis Flyer Classic, the Nebraska Bowling team finished second after going 10-3, bringing the Huskers’ season total to 62-28, during Sunday's championship bracket. 

The Huskers were dominant all tournament weekend. Sitting on top of the 20-team field after every match but one throughout the course of the first two days. Sunday morning the Big Red was seeded as the No. 1 overall pick going into three best-four-of-seven baker games. 

The first match of bracket play would be a rematch for the Sam Houston Bearkats. The Bearkats came out of the door with a win in games one and two at 219-183 and 194-179. Nebraska answered back in games three (225-206) and four (185-147) for back to back wins evening the score at 2-2. A neck and neck game four would keep each team in reach, but a chopped spare in the 10th would open the door for Sam Houston giving them the win 220-203 in game five. Two open frames in game six would give the Bearkats the edge to slide past Nebraska giving them the win (4-2) with a 215-170 score. The Big Red then advanced with a chance to climb back to the tournament title match by facing No. 10 Maryville where the winner would advance to meet Sam Houston once more. 

In match two of bracket play, the Huskers were ready for a rematch against the Maryville Saints, who previously were the only team to defeat the Big Red this weekend. The match started rough with the Big Red only shooting 146 against a Maryville 175, but would answer back strongly in game two (248-202) to tie it up 1-1. Game three would be another 200 for Nebraska winning 232-181.With a massive nine-bagger to close out game four (258-170) the Big Red had a comfortable 3-1 heading into game five. Leading up to the 10th, Verstraete was able to set up a mark before Jilliian Martin filled the 10th frame to seal up a 215-201 win advancing Nebraska to a rematch against Sam Houston for the tournament title. 

The Championship match was the third matchup of the weekend against the Sam Houston Bearkats, with each team holding a win over one another. The Bearkats started strong with wins in game one (247-203) and two (237-197) before the Big Red answered back in game two (207-162). Game three had fans on their feet in game four as Nebraska led into the 10th, ultimately tying things 2-2 with a 195-181 win. Unfortunate splits in the back half of game five (157-178) would give a 3-2 lead to the Bearkats. A stubborn 10 pin in the 10th frame of game six would keep Martin from doubling to force a seventh game (207-226), awarding Sam Houston the tournament title. 

In her second career tournament appearance, senior Marissa Cosentinti proved to be a beacon of hope and driving force for Nebraska, filling 24 frames out of a possible 28. 

Four Huskers earned top 25 rankings in the individual standings with three being selected on the all-tournament team. Martin earned runner up honors with a 1,057 total pinfall and 211.40 average. Alexis Buchert placed sixth on the second All-Tournament team, 1,030 pinfall (206.00 Avg.) and Brenna Hartzler behind at seventh with 1,016 (203.20 Avg.). Verstrate rounded out the lineup at 25 with a 958 total pinfall (191.60 Avg.).

Up next, the Huskers return to the lanes in one week for the 2024 Mid-Winter Invitational hosted by national Runner-Up, Arkansas State in Jonesboro, Ark. 

Flyer Classic Final Standings:

No. 11 Sam Houston
No. 6 Nebraska
No. 10 Maryville
No. 18 Newman
No. 16 Sacred Heart
No. 12 Tulane
No. 23 McKendree
Wright State
University of Alabama Birmingham
No. 20 Valparaiso
No. 15 Wisconsin Whitewater
Alabama A&M