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Latvia's Zavjalova top seed for TV show at 2013 Queens

Matt Cannizzaro
USBC Communications
Published: September 4, 2013 | Bowl.com
2013 USBC Queens bracket

HENDERSON, Nev. - Diana Zavjalova of Latvia made a huge statement in her United States Bowling Congress Queens debut this week, and she's now one game away from the biggest win of her bowling career.

The 22-year-old right-hander averaged more than 234 on the way to a 6-0 match-play record at Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center, including a 688-628 win against Singapore's Shayna Ng on Wednesday to secure the top spot.

Ng was the top qualifier heading into match play and now is the second seed for the TV show, which will be taped Thursday night at 10 p.m. EDT and air on ESPN2 on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

"I started the week with a great block on the burn but then struggled on the fresh," Zavjalova said. "I tried a few different balls and surfaces and continued to struggle, but I figured it out by the time match play started, and that was the perfect time. Once I found my look and started winning matches, my confidence was through the roof."

Zavjalova and Ng will be joined by USBC Hall of Famer and 1999 Queens winner Leanne Hulsenberg of North Ogden, Utah (No. 3), former Team USA member Jennifer Higgins of Westerville, Ohio (No. 4) and USBC Hall of Famer and two-time Queens champion Lynda Barnes of Double Oak, Texas (No. 5), who all battled through the elimination bracket.

The last three spots in the stepladder were filled through a shootout round with the final four players in the elimination bracket bowling three games. Total pinfall determined who would advance and in what order. Former Wichita State star Jazreel Tan of Singapore was eliminated.

Zavjalova's run at the Queens came after a confidence-boosting performance at the recent World Tenpin Bowling Association World Championships, also held at Sunset Station, where she earned an all-events bronze medal.

Despite being exhausted, Zavjalova is excited about the possibility of becoming the first foreign Queens champion since Australia's Carol Gianotti in 1989.

"Honestly, I'm speechless right now, but if you ask me again tomorrow, I might have a different answer," said Zavjalova, who helped Webber International to a win at the 2012 USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships. "It has been a long three weeks here, and I'm exhausted, but I'm excited and speechless at the same time. This is a dream come true."

The 2013 Queens champion will take home the $20,000 top prize, and a perfect game in the championship match will earn the player an additional $10,000 from Storm Bowling Products.

The Queens is open to any female USBC member, and with this year's event coming just after the WTBA World Championships, the field included 202 players representing 15 countries.

A limited number of tickets for the televised finals are available for $25. Call 702-547-7467 for more information.

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