Braves bowlers place fourth in NAIA Championships

By The Herald Staff

The Ottawa University men's bowling team made history this weekend.

The squad advanced to the Final Four of the NAIA Men's Bowling Championships. The fourth-place finish is the best at the championships in program history.

The Braves were seeded sixth in the tournament. The Braves faced No. 3 Martin Methodist in the first round. Ottawa fell to Martin Methodist, 3-2. The Braves fought their way back through the elimination bracket.

Ottawa defeated No. 8 William Penn, 3-2, and followed with a victory against No. 5 Indiana Tech, 3-1.

In the Final Four, Ottawa came up short to eventual champion, the University of Saint Francis, 3-2.

"The men set themselves up with a bye in bracket play,” Ottawa coach Geoff Poston said. “We had Martin Methodist on the ropes down 2-0 and just couldn't put them away. They battled back through the losers bracket winning a couple matches before losing to the eventual champion 3-2.

“Bowling with the top 10 teams in the country, every match was so close. We had a great memorable week. The guys should be proud how far this program has come in just 3 1/2 years. It's because of their hard work and loyalty."

The women’s team also achieved a program best in the tournament. Ottawa won its first match ever in the NAIA Women's Bowling Championships.

Ottawa, seeded No. 9, faced off against No. 8 Grand View University in the opener. The Braves achieved the upset with a 3-2 victory and advanced to face No. 1 Indiana Tech. Ottawa lost 3-1. In the elimination bracket, Ottawa was upended by No. 10 Martin Methodist, 3.5-0.5.

"Overall, it was a fantastic experience,” Poston said. “We let some opportunities get away from us in bracket play versus the No. 1 seed and didn't take advantage. However, the girls showed they can not only compete with but beat anyone if we limit our mistakes. Their effort and energy was great all week. Being a part of this inaugural tournament will be something they will remember forever.”

The squads compete at the USBC Sectionals on April 16-18.