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Springfield girls bowling team returning to season-best form

2/16/2017 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

LAKEMORE — Head coach Matt Graves said this year’s Springfield High School girls bowling team is full of players he considers to be “goal driven.”

“You can see it in practices. You can see it in the way they’re always consulting with the coaches trying to figure out how to get better,” he said. “They depend on the coaches and they depend on each other to try to get better.”

Through Feb. 14, Springfield had a 14-5 overall record, including a 13-5 mark in the Portage Trail Conference, where the team finished in third place.

“It’s been a successful year and we’ve grown,” Graves said. “We did go through a little stretch in January where we had a little slump. We lost some heart-breakers. We lost a match by six pins and then we lost another one by just 29 pins. So we had some tough losses that kind of hurt us, but we learned from those and we’ve grown from them.”

According to the coach, Springfield is working toward getting back to its end of 2016 form.

“We’re almost there,” he said. “We were bowling really well in December and then after the Christmas break we came back a little flat. But we are getting back to where we were. We still have a little work to do, though.”

One bowler looking to lead the turnaround, Graves said, is senior Madison Sims.

“Madison is going through some struggles, but whenever she gets in a slump, she works hard to get out of it. She will work extra hard to figure out what’s going on,” the coach said. “She’s always been solid for us. She’s been steady. We pretty much always know what we’re going to get out of her. She gives us senior leadership because she’s been in different situations and she’s learned a lot from it.”

Another “solid leader” for Springfield this season, Graves said, has been junior Carlea Masters.

“Carlea is a tremendous bowler and the girls really gravitate to her. They look to her when something goes wrong,” the coach said. “She’s had a really good year. She had a little struggle in January, but she came out of it. She’s back to her normal game. Her average is at about 191.”

The other key members of this year’s varsity team, Graves said, include senior Kyrstin Allen, juniors Madison Swann and Brittany Goldinger and sophomores Mackenzie Bever and Alyssa Foreman.

“They are looking to get better and improve their game all the time,” the coach said. “They are steadily getting better and they are continuously working hard to improve. In January, pretty much everyone hit that little rough patch, but they’ve all bounced back pretty well.”

Graves said depth is the biggest strength of this year’s team.

“We have a lot of bowlers that can bowl varsity,” he stated. “What’s nice is that if someone’s having an off day, I know I can go to someone else on the team and they can come through for us. I can rotate any of my top seven in and be pretty confident in them. And in the same way, I can bring some people up from junior varsity and be pretty confident that no matter who I bring in, they’re going to be pretty solid. For example, [juniors] Sydney Robinson and Kendra Sanner could start for most other schools. There’s just so much competition, but I know I can put them in there and they will do well. We have a solid varsity program all around and our junior varsity program is undefeated this year. There are a lot of freshmen down there and they are ready to make that jump to the next level.”

Sectionals will take place at Stonehedge Family Fun Center Feb. 19 starting at noon, and Graves said he is eager to see how his team steps up to the challenge.

“I’m looking to see that we can make adjustments as time goes on and that we can stay strong when things don’t go our way and fight through it,” he said. “If we can do that, we can move on to the next round.”

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