Decimated roster won’t bring down Bobcat girls

The Bobcats are approaching the 2013-14 season with a quality-over-quantity approach.

And with just six members on the roster, the Marshalltown girls’ bowling team doesn’t have much of a choice.

Hoping to counter their lack of numbers with an experienced set of bowlers, the Bobcats are looking to their returning varsity quintet to guide them to more wins and potentially a first-ever state tournament appearance.

“We’ve had a tough situation with getting a lot of girls to bowl,” said Roger Taylor Sr., who takes over coaching duties for Jeremiah McKeever. “We’ve got a good team to win some matches and hopefully make it to state. If all six girls can play, I think we have a chance.”

Tia Vergauwen headlines the unit after leading MHS with a 20th-place finish at the Central Iowa Conference meet last season, where the Bobcats finished 10th. She is joined by fellow seniors Kathleen Ferrin, Samantha Tocheri and Lily Neuan. Junior Lindsay Wiegand also returns from the 2012-13 varsity contingent and freshman Jenna Vergauwen rounds out the roster.

While the squad is veteran-laden, each of the girls is finding ways to improve their game and help the team rebound from last year’s 2-11 mark in dual play.

“They’re all learning something,” said Taylor Sr. “The girls are learning some ball reactions and different hand positions to get the ball to do different things. The sport today is so technical. There’s a lot of knowledge to share so I’m real excited.”

Helping to spread that knowledge to the players is a pair of assistant coaches in Andy Schwandt and Stacy Galema.

“Andy has been a real blessing. He’s an extra set of eyes and he has a real knowledge of bowling,” said Taylor Sr. “Stacy has that youth that the kids can relate to and she was one of my students on the club team.”

Tia Vergauwen posted the Bobcats’ top score of 355 in the regional meet and Neuan added a 304 as MHS tallied a total of 2,151 to finish fifth out of five squads. The Bobcats posted a match score average of 2,066.5.

Taylor Sr. is stressing the importance of each pin as the difference between victory and defeat can be minimal.

“If you lose by 10 or 15 pins for every 15 games, that’s one pin a game or one spare a game,” said the MHS coach. “It’s crazy how it adds up, but every pin counts and every spare counts. If you don’t strike – spare, if you don’t spare – get your pin count.”

These Bobcats can certainly relate with the every-pin-counts mentality as they’ll need contributions from every single member to get on the winning track.

Marshalltown opens the season at home against Newton on Tuesday with action getting underway at 3:45 p.m.