RENO, Nev. - Using the experience they gained from winning the 2010 NCAA National Championship at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Time of Our Life II of Saddle Brook, N.J., confidently rolled into the National Bowling Stadium and found similar success at the United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships on Saturday.
Lisa Friscioni's 727 series helped the group to games of 1,097, 1,101 and 1,084 for a 3,282 total, which landed Time of Our Life II in the top spot in Scratch Team. They received an additional 30 pins of handicap per game to also reach the Diamond Team lead with 3,372. Purple Brusers of El Paso, Texas, previously held the top spot in Scratch Team with 3,026, while Pindemonium of Elgin, Ill., had the Diamond Team lead with 3,368.
Friscioni was joined on the tournament lanes by Sara Litteral (679), Joely Carrillo (653), Erica Perez (620) and Jennifer Viens (603). Friscioni is a member of the 2006 NCAA National Championship team and served as assistant coach during the 2010 title run that featured Litteral, Carrillo and Perez as competitors.
The time spent competing at the collegiate level and ability to communicate put Time of Our Life II in position to claim its first USBC Women's Championships crown.
"Collegiate bowling definitely helps in this atmosphere," said Friscioni, who made her sixth Women's Championships appearance. "It gave us an advantage because we've done this for four years, 10 months out of the year. Communication is key. Whenever someone has an idea, we all hear it out and go from there. We like to talk about what's going on. That's what we learned in college and what we do every time we're out on the lanes."
Preparation also played a role in the team's success as they watched a companion team earlier in the day and developed their own strategy. Whether or not their score holds up, the team members were happy with how they executed their game plan and performed on the lanes.
"We had some people bowl earlier in the day, so we had an idea based on them on how we wanted to play the lanes," Friscioni said. "When we got out there and saw something similar, we became very confident. We had a few tough breaks but were able to overcome them. There's still a lot of bowling left, but we're happy with where we're at now and how we bowled today."
High scores continued over the weekend as Natasha Schultz of Perry, Okla., bowled her highest series on the way to the Sapphire Singles lead Sunday.
The 40-year-old right-hander rolled games of 235, 214 and 182 for a 631 scratch total. She received an additional three pins of handicap per game to finish with 640. Flame Cotton of Fayetteville, N.C., previously held the lead with 624.
Schultz recently returned to the sport in 2011 after a two-year hiatus. Her local bowling center had closed its doors before re-opening this season. After her strong start, her main goal was to reach a 600 series.
"I was totally in shock when I found out I was in the lead," said Schultz, who made her fifth Women's Championships appearance. "I was praying for a 600 after my first two games. That's all I was looking for. I hadn't shot a 600 in at least four years, so I was very proud of myself for that."
The 2012 tournament season has been a good one for Schultz, who recently claimed the handicap all-events title at the Oklahoma State USBC Women's Championship. With the chance to hoist a state and national title in the same year, she is looking forward to seeing if her score will hold until the 86-day run of the 2012 Women's Championships ends July 8, a day before her birthday.
"Since my birthday is July 9, it would be a great birthday present," Schultz said. "This is my best year ever. I never thought I'd do this well in two tournaments in the same year. I usually don't do well in tournaments at all, so this would mean everything."
Her overall tournament performance has her sitting in sixth place for Sapphire All-Events as well. She added 566 in doubles and 446 in team to finish with 1,652. Cotton holds the lead with 1,741. All scores include handicap.
The Diamond Division is made up of bowlers with averages of 180 and higher, with handicap based on 220. The Sapphire Division is for bowlers with an average of 149 and below, with handicap based on 150.
The top scratch score in team, doubles, singles and all-events is recognized as overall tournament champion.
Presenting sponsors for the 2012 USBC Women's Championships are Circus Circus, Eldorado Hotel Casino and Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, Nev. Other sponsors include Harrah's Reno Casino, official brackets sponsor, Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, Humana, official registration sponsor, Steltronic, official scoring system, and supporting sponsors Storm Bowling Products, Nationwide Insurance, Sands Regency Casino Hotel and Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa and MyBowlingVacation.com.