NCAA

Duquesne notebook: Bowling for history

Duquesne bowling coach Jody Fetterhoff proudly displays a Parker Bohn III signed pin in her office. Bohn III was voted the 10th greatest bowler in PBA TOUR history in 2009. Photo credit: Zachary Weiss/DYST Now

Pittsburgh, PA — It took 27 years for Jody Fetterhoff to bowl her first 300 game, but after a successful first year of competition, there is an increased likelihood that the Duquesne bowling team could reach its first ever National Collegiate Bowling Championships in much less time than that.

This ultimate team goal nearly became a reality last season when Duquesne fell 80 pins short of qualifying.

“There is that belief that we are capable of being a top program,” Duquesne coach Jody Fetterhoff said. “Our team is very close, they all get along very well and the returners are just trying to help the freshmen transition so much quicker. We are young, but we are not going to use that as an excuse, this is what they signed up for, so they are just going to go out there, compete and get better. They’re not going to let being young get in the way of that. It didn’t last year and certainly not this year.”

Already Duquesne has earned respect from its bowling peers with the first ever ranking, 25th in program history as voted on by coaches in the National Tenpin Coaches Association preseason poll.

“You don’t always know if you’re going to get the respect you deserve because we are a new program, so it could go either way,” said Fetterhoff. “Some of the bigger teams that saw us, voted for us and the reality is there were very few votes where we were 25th . It was that teams that didn’t see us just didn’t vote for us.”

Duquesne also was picked to finish fifth of seven teams in the NEC Preseason Bowling Poll.

Creating an identity? Check

Though Duquesne has competed for a full year, it was first officially introduced as a varsity sport Nov. 9, 2015 with Fetterhoff being hired to coach the team.

The expectation was to build a program with Fetterhoff, who came in with 10 years of coaching experience in addition to a player-coach career at Shippensburg University.

“I didn’t come here to just compete, I came here knowing how good of an academic institution Duquesne was and that’s huge for women’s bowling,” Fetterhoff said. “My expectations were pretty high that we could do this pretty quickly and the support I have been given is above and beyond every place that I have worked at. As a bowler and as a coach of the sport, I am not used to that. You often get treated differently compared to other athletes, and that is definitely not the case here. That was a very nice surprise.”

With the administrative support in place, Fetterhoff was able to find an assistant coach in Zack Scheiwer who actually drilled two balls the former rolled a 300 with.

“I 100% trust him and his abilities and he has been such a huge asset to our program,” said Fetterhoff. “It’s like having a ball rep standing behind you because he sees something totally different from what I see.”

With both staff and support finalized, Fetterhoff had to sell a new program and her vision to recruits who would admittedly be taking a gamble by signing with Duquesne.

“I have a lot of respect for my players because they had better offers on the table and they bought into what I was selling them to be part of a brand new program,” she said. “They really set the tone on the culture of this program and what we are trying to achieve. They see that the university takes it seriously, the athletic department takes it seriously and they’re showing that we can win championships here so I think that translated very quickly and helped me from a recruiting standpoint.”

Fetterhoff was able to assemble a roster of seven with six able to bowl. This year, the roster has grown to 10.

Among the returners is sophomore Kelsey Hackbart, who was a late addition to last year’s team and had not bowled much out of high school. She ended her season having posted four of the team’s top individual finishes.

“I thought there might have been a transition period, but really there wasn’t,” Fetterhoff said. “She’s just an amazing bowler and I don’t think she knows how good she is and that’s refreshing as a coach because usually that’s not the case. We’re looking for her to lead, but we brought people in so that it is not all on her. I think she’ll have a better season because she won’t feel the weight of the whole team on her.”

Also among the top performers last season that will return are sophomore Megan Cook and senior Cassidy Powers.

Duquesne will welcome five freshman this season in Kaylee Daniska, Olivia Farwell, Allison Hresko, Sarah Kirkpatrick and Mollie McGhee.

Of the quintet, Fetterhoff mentioned her higher expectations for Farwell given her previous body of work.

“Olivia, she’s for real,” she said. “She basically won everything until Junior Gold where she finished 25th of 840 bowlers. She beat all of the high school kids but Junior Gold also has college kids under 20, so to finish 25th in her second time, yeah she and I both have high expectations. We’re just going to add to her game. If someone needs to strike out for us to win, Olivia is able to do that for us.”

Fetterhoff has made it clear that she recruited her first class and this incoming class fills some gaps. To say she is excited about this season would be an understatement.

About that pin

Taking one look at Fetterhoff’s Mendel Hall office, it is easy to spot some of her awards and accomplishments surrounding the window but one thing certainly stands out.

Fetterhoff is shy when it comes to reflecting upon personal accomplishments because she has put her all into coaching, especially with this Duquesne team.

If you ask Fetterhoff about her pin signed by Parker Bohn III though, the words cannot come out fast enough.

Bohn III was voted the 10th best bowler in an ESPN poll conducted in 2009, has won 35 PBA Tour titles and is known from his sportsmanship in addition to his willingness to give back to the bowling community.

Fetterhoff even won a big bracket tournament with Bohn III watching. Though they are not as close anymore, it is clear that she still has great admiration and respect for him.

“Parker gave that to me before I left for my freshman year at Shippensburg, my mom got him to sign it,” a smiling Fetterhoff remarked. “I’ve always had that pin and Parker has always been one of my favorites with being a lefty as I am, even though I bowl right-handed. He just has this game that a lot of young bowlers do not have. He is still successful. Today the game has more two-handers or people want to have a big swing. Parker, Walter Ray (Williams Jr), Norm Duke, the greats, have very simple games and it’s translated. The great thing about our sport is that our pro bowlers both on the male and female side give back. We go out to big tournaments and the pros are just there. In other sports it doesn’t happen, so kids not only can look up to these pros but they get to bowl with them.”

A home away from home

Duquesne opens its season this weekend in Reading, PA at the KU Fall Team Invite and KU Fall Baker Invite. Reading has served Duquesne well as it won the Golden Bear Invitational there last year.

“Knowing we had quick success there last season and we are facing pretty much the same teams as that tournament gives you that confidence,” Fetterhoff said. “Having that confidence will relax those first tournament nerves versus going to a house we’ve never bowled in. It’s a huge advantage having bowled there. You know the carry of the pins and you know angles in that house, so it’s a huge thing. Half of our team is from Eastern Pennsylvania, so their parents will be there and it’s definitely a comfort zone for us.”

This year also brings with it the opportunity for Duquesne to co-host its own home event with Saint Francis (PA) at Sims Lanes in Beaver Falls, PA. The meet will include all NEC teams and occur Dec. 2 and 3.

The NCAA now has automatic bids for nationals and with the NEC’s stature in bowling being among the highly regarded, there will be an automatic bid given out.

Hosting provides a clear advantage as teams are aware of where the ball needs to go and there is little to no learning curve. Sacred Heart for example, an already strong team in the conference, won convincingly at its home tournament last year while hosting an event.

Duquesne has had a lot of travel and even those two days will involve short trips, since its home lanes are Legacy Lanes, but this provides a first chance for many to see the team compete.

“I was kind of bombarded the first two year with excited people coming up asking when they could see us play,” said Fetterhoff. “I was taken aback of the support and the people that wanted to see us. It’s awesome that we have this opportunity to host because it gives my bowler a chance to see how supportive faculty, staff, other coaches and other teams have been to me. It’s a little further away than we would have liked, we would have liked to host at our home bowling alley, Legacy Lanes but with the automatic qualifier you can’t give any team in our conference an advantage, so we just want to level the playing field.”

When it comes to this season, Fetterhoff views it as wide open. Her team did not lose any bowlers, actually it gained while the top two teams each lost bowlers.

“This program is on the cusp and they are just really good kids,” she said. “It’s amazing how quickly our sport has grown. If Duquesne had sponsored women’s bowling when I was around, I would have been a walk-on. I bowled for Ship and we were club so it is cool to see everything these kids get and how far bowling has come.

News Across The Bluff

Duquesne’s women’s soccer is now in second place in the Atlantic 10 following a 2-0 victory at Davidson Sunday. In the match, junior Katie O’Connor scored her 22nd career goal, which sets the program record. Ciara Guglielmo scored her second goal of the season in the 28th minute. Freshman Lauren Bell was named Atlantic 10 Co-Rookie of the Week for a second time… Duquesne women’s cross country won the Carnegie Mellon Invitational this past week with seven Dukes placing in the top 16. Junior Elizabeth Morris placed second overall with senior Jenny DelSignore finishing third, sophomore Megan Aller seventh and juniors Taylor Pletz and Jennifer Gerland rounding out the top-1o runners… The Duquesne men’s cross country team placed 10th of the 20 teams that finished, but some of the top runners did not race… Duquesne football received two honors this past week. First junior wide receiver Nehari Crawford was named NEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week after setting a career-high of 156 receiving yards. Those 156 receiving yards is also an NEC high for the season. Sophomore linebacker Brett Zanotto was named NEC Defensive Player of the Week for his eight tackles (seven solo) and 2.5 tackles for a loss… Duquesne volleyball went 1-1 on the week. First Duquesne fell 3-0 to a VCU team which as of this notebook had won 16 consecutive matches, which is the longest streak in the nation. The week came to an end on a positive note with a 3-0 sweep at Davidson. Duquesne is now tied for fourth place in the Atlantic 10 with Rhode Island… Duquesne men’s soccer closed a tough week with a 5-0 road loss to UMass. Duquesne has been held scoreless in its last 187 minutes of play and are tied for ninth place in the Atlantic 10 with Davidson… Duquesne men’s and women’s basketball will have its fanfest, Dukes Dunks & Donuts on Saturday Oct. 21 from 9-11 a.m.

Duquesne Calendar of Events

10/11

Duquesne Women’s Bowling KU Fall Team Invite @ Reading, PA 

Duquesne Men’s Soccer vs Saint Louis 7 p.m.

10/12

Duquesne Women’s Bowling KU Fall Baker Invite @ Reading, PA 

Duquesne Women’s Soccer @ Dayton 7 p.m.

10/13

Duquesne Women’s Tennis @ ITA Championship

Duquesne Men’s and Women’s Cross Country @ Penn State Open 11:30 AM

Duquesne Volleyball vs Rhode Island 7 p.m.

10/14

Duquesne Women’s Tennis @ ITA Championship

Duquesne Men’s and Women’s cross country at Carnegie Mellon Invitational 11 a.m.

Duquesne Men’s Soccer @ UMass 12:00 p.m 

Duquesne Football vs Robert Morris 6 p.m

10/15

Duquesne Women’s Tennis @ ITA Championship

Duquesne Volleyball vs Fordham 1 p.m.

Duquesne Women’s Soccer vs UMass 1 p.m.

10/17

Duquesne Women’s Tennis @ ITA Championship

Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Media Day @ Capital One Arena

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