Matanzas senior Morgan Naydich finished 23rd in individual qualifying with an 861 series. Photo by Brian McMillan
Palm Coast Observer
The girls state bowling championship came down to the final frame of the final game in the championship match.
"I'm very proud of the girls. They were able to get back into the finals, which was pretty impressive. They all just work very well as a team. Two-time state placers is nothing to be ashamed of, that's for sure."
— PAUL SHULER, Seabreeze coach
In the end, Space Coast High School won the last Baker game by seven pins to defeat Seabreeze 3-2 in the title match and prevent the Sandcrabs from taking home the championship trophy for a second consecutive year.
Seabreeze did earn the runner-up trophy on Thursday, Nov. 3, at Boardwalk Bowl in Orlando.
"I'm very proud of the girls," Seabreeze coach Paul Shuler said. "They were able to get back into the finals, which was pretty impressive. They all just work very well as a team. Two-time state placers is nothing to be ashamed of, that's for sure."
The Matanzas boys team also advanced to the round of 16 by finishing fourth in qualifying, but they lost in two straight Baker matches.
"The approach at Boardwalk Bowl was a little tackier than what we're used to, and the kids couldn't slide like they normally do," said Pirates boys coach Jens Oliva. "The kids couldn't get into a rhythm."
The highlight of the three-day event for the Pirates was Mason Evans' 297 game in qualifying. He rolled 11 consecutive strikes before leaving three pins standing on his final ball.
"It was pretty awesome," Oliva said. "Everything went right for him. He had been bowling well in practice. He bowled a 249 in the game before that helped us advance to (the Baker rounds)."
Evans matched FPC's Emma Pezzullo, who bowled a 297 in a match at Palatka Lanes on Oct. 19.
"It was pretty awesome. Everything went right for him. He had been bowling well in practice."
— JENS OLIVA, Matanzas boys bowling coach on Mason Evans' 297 game.
Pezzullo finished 18th in girls individual qualifying at state with a four-game 806 series, three pins behind the 16th and final qualifier for the bracket rounds.
"That was a hard pill to swallow," said FPC girls coach Laura Oliva. "Her first two games were really good, but she couldn't find her line on the third game. The oil conditions changed. She was better in the fourth game with a 191, but it wasn't high enough. She's going to work hard in the offseason. the girls want to bowl together throughout the offseason to get back to state. We'll be back next year (as a team) for sure."
The Sandcrabs won three straight Baker matches on Wednesday, Nov. 2, without losing a game to advance to the semifinal round against Space Coast. After winning the first two games against the Vipers, 184-182 and 222 to 201, Seabreeze lost the final three, dropping the fifth game by four pins, 172-168.
"We had really good Baker games Wednesday night," Shuler said. "We started the semifinals, and for some reason, things started just not working for us. We just started missing some spares."
That dropped the Sandcrabs into the consolation final where they defeated Rockledge in five games to meet Space Coast again in the title match. Anchor bowler Kara Beissel rolled two strikes and a nine in the 10th frame. But her opponent also rolled two strikes to clinch the match.
"She didn't hit a pocket ball (on the second strike), but the pins fell for her," Shuler said. "She turned around and walked away thinking that she did not strike, and all the pins just fell. Two were still wobbling and just fell for her, and that pretty much sealed it. But Space Coast was good. They have some good girls on the team."
Space Coast's Brooke Street finished second in the individual competition to Pinellas Park's Madison Colston. Apopka's Richard Caruso won the boys individual title and also helped the Blue Darters win the boys team title.
The Sandcrabs were missing Breanna Hess from their 2021 championship team. The junior missed the season with an injury. Seabreeze will try to regain the title next year. They lose only one bowler, senior Sofia Allem, and return six bowlers next season.