The Flagler Palm Coast girls bowling team turned its No. 7 seed into a third-place finish at the state championships, and team captain Madelynn Oliva finished fourth in the individual competition Thursday, Nov. 4, at the Boardwalk Bowl Entertainment Center in Orlando.
Oliva said her plan of attack heading into the individual rounds at the three-day tournament was simple — stay focused, have the team rally behind her and execute. She qualified fourth in the final-16 bracket with a four-game total of 869.
The senior went on to beat her first two opponents, then fell in Round 3 to Oasis High School’s Katarina Hagler to fall into the consolation bracket, where she advanced to the semifinals. Hagler went on to take second place, falling to Bell Creek Academy’s Sierra Calo in the final.
The Bulldogs advanced to state after finishing second behind Seabreeze in the District 3 tournament. They beat Somerset Academy, 3-0, in their first Baker match Nov. 2 before falling to Seabreeze — the eventual state champ — in the second round.
“We were hoping we would get a chance to play them in the final,” Oliva said of the Sandcrabs. “We grew up bowling on league together every Saturday. We are like family.”
“I think it helps that I have strong people that want to bowl, love the game and want to win.”
Laura Oliva, FPC girls bowling coach
FPC faced off against the TERRA Environmental Research Institute in an elimination match Nov. 3. The Bulldogs prevailed in the last game with a score of 181 to win the round, 3-2.
FPC returned the morning of Nov. 4 to crush Fort White High School, 3-0, in the first of four final matches. They went on to beat Space Coast High School and Somerset Academy before losing to eventual state runner-up Bell Creek, 3-2.
“I think it helps that I have strong people that want to bowl, love the game and want to win,” FPC coach Laura Oliva said. “Once we get to a match, we’re done tweaking. We are relying on everything that we have done in practice and what we’ve worked on. We worked on all the things that we knew that we were weakest at, and it has paid off.”
This is Laura Oliva’s first year coaching the team. She had been exposed to bowling because her husband, Jens Oliva, is the Matanzas boys coach, but she did not get serious about the sport until two years ago. She expressed pride in her team.
“They are an excellent group of young ladies,” she said. “They work hard every single time.”
Jens and Laura Oliva are Madelynn Oliva's uncle and aunt.
“I feel good. They did great,” Laura Oliva said. “We are losing Madellyn, Akasha (Sneed) and Angelika (Niewiadomska), but I have another niece who is coming up who is a freshman. It’s all in the family.”