After losing several key varsity bowlers to graduation, this year looked like a building year for the Green girls bowling team. Yet after their initial loss to a strong Coventry team, the Bulldogs have racked up eight straight wins to get their season back on track.
For Coach Dave Cowley, the winning streak has been a pleasant surprise.
"We are young team," Cowley said, "but we are constantly improving. We are also keeping our streak of consecutive league victories going, with 50 straight wins in league competition."
With only a few seniors on the varsity roster, Cowley's starting five is comprised mostly of underclassmen. The team's young bowlers girls have stepped up and performed well so far.
Cowley has three returning lettermen to provide the core of his team. Senior Angela Bellissimo and juniors Madison Summers and Lisa Merryman are the Bulldogs' leaders on and off the lanes.
"Angela has really improved her game," Cowley said. "She has increased her ball speed. She came back this year with a whole new game."
Cowley considers one of his juniors a top-notch bowler and a strong contender in the postseason.
"Madison Summers is probably one of the best bowlers in the league and North Eastern Ohio and is our returning MVP from last year. We expect her to do very well this year," Cowley said.
Merryman, Cowley said, continues to improve and her performance has bolstered the team in matches. The veteran coach also praised Merryan for her positive attitude and ability to inspire her teammates. In the recent match against Hoban she scored the individual and match high scores.
Senior Julia Wolfe and sophomore Allison Eversoll have moved up to varsity this year and have made the adjustment without much of a drop in performance.
Cowley is also starting two freshmen, Brandi Wells and Jennifer Johnston. He noted that both have earned their starting spot and solidified their roles as a key part of a team with rising ambitions. Both average more than 150 pins per game, which their coach characterized as very good for freshmen.
"It has been a good season so far," Bellissimo said. "I really love to bowl, and still like all the girls. My average is around 150-160, so I could be doing better. The team is doing great."
Bellissimo said the team has great chemistry, which benefits them during tough times. Summers agreed and believes the loss to Coventry served to galvanize the team.
"So far it has been a pretty good year," Summers said. "We lost three seniors last year, but we are still bowling fantastic. Since loosing our first match we have been kicking butt. I think I have been bowling pretty good but there is still room for improvement."
Page 2 of 2 - Summers has established a goal of reaching the state tournament and believes she has the capability to do so with her team, or as an individual.
Cowley has been pleased so far with his team and its development over the first half of the season.
"The older girls have been trying to help the younger girls. As a team they are bonding pretty well. I think we have a bright outlook even though we are really young. We would like to win the league title and make it to the districts and state finals," Cowley said.