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Caldwell University Bowling team group with 2019 Blowing Champions banner in front of bowling alley.

The Caldwell University women’s bowling team upset defending conference champions Lincoln Memorial University twice on the final day of competition to capture their first East Coast Conference Championship.

In their first season as an associate member of the ECC and fifth year as a varsity program, the Cougars earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will be streamed on on Wednesday, March 27 at 4 p.m.

“I am so proud of the tenacity these ladies showed throughout the year and this weekend,” said head coach Ken Yokobosky. “They truly came together as a team. They believed in each other and leaned on one another throughout the tournament. They worked tirelessly to prepare for this. I appreciate the support of CU and our home practice center at Rockaway Lanes. On to the NCAAs!”

The Cougars earned the third seed after Friday’s round robin play and went unbeaten in bracket play on Saturday and Sunday to raise the program’s first conference trophy. Caldwell reached Sunday’s winner bracket match against the Lady Railsplitters after besting #6 Molloy College 4-3 and #2 Adelphi University 4-3 on Saturday.

In the winner’s bracket match against Lincoln Memorial, the Cougars won the opening game 223-206. The Lady Railsplitters took the next two games 224-172 and 188-150 to take a 2-1 lead. Caldwell even the match with a 228-216 win and won the next two games 210-160 and 204-156 to win 4-2 and earn a spot in the championship match.

Lincoln Memorial earned a rematch in the finals with a 4-0 win against Adelphi in the consolation round. Caldwell grabbed the early momentum, taking the first two games 234-207 and 194-174. The Lady Railsplitters won the third games 192-168 for a 2-1 Caldwell lead. The Cougars closed out with a pair of wins 167-149 and 192-188 for a 4-1 win and their first conference title.

Freshman Jenna Rapach (Hazleton, Pa.) earned the tournament’s Most Outstanding Bowling award after shining throughout the weekend. Rapach posted a 20.11 baker average for the weekend to earn top honors.

Caldwell currently holds a 54-45 record this season, which is the best record in the program’s five seasons.