Merrimack College Women’s Bowling Headed to First NCAA Championship

The Warriors, who won their first Northeast Conference tournament championship, will take on Vanderbilt University on Friday, April 5, in the Rochester Regional.
Merrimack College women's bowling team photo

When Jalen Scott-Jones became the first head coach of the Merrimack College women’s bowling team in 2022, his goal was to establish a premier collegiate bowling program in the region.

It took just two seasons for the Warriors to make their mark on the national collegiate bowling stage and the pantheon of Merrimack College Athletics. The nationally ranked No. 16 women’s bowling team is headed to the 2024 NCAA tournament, the varsity program in school history to earn an automatic bid to a Division I NCAA tournament. 

The Warriors punched their ticket to the NCAAs after winning the program’s first Northeast Conference championship on March 24, going undefeated in tournament play and knocking off powerhouses Duquesne and Sacred Heart.

“We worked really hard this year,” said Scott-Jones. “The team got hot and gained confidence at the right time in the season.”

At an NCAA Selection Show watch party in the Student Union on Wednesday, March 27, the Warriors learned they will face defending champion Vanderbilt on Friday, April 5, at 9 a.m. in the Rochester, N.Y. Regional. 

The NCAA Championship features 18 teams that compete in a double-elimination format. Teams play best-of-three matches that include a five-person team round, a Baker, or alternate shot, total pinfall and a Baker best-of-seven match play. The same format was used in the NEC tournament. The Warriors, who were ranked No. 4 and started the tournament in the play-in round, only went to a decisive best-of-seven match play once in four rounds.

Scott-Jones admitted that earlier this season just qualifying for the NEC tournament would have been a great achievement based on the way the team was playing. But with strong results at tournaments in January and February, the head coach said the team reached a level where they expected to not just make the conference tournament, but also do well.

“We certainly felt like we were playing at a higher level than our seed would suggest,” said Scott-Jones. “It was a very dominant performance by the team.”

While most Merrimack students left campus for the long Easter break, Scott-Jones said his team opted to stay on campus to remain together and practice leading up to the NCAAs. The Warriors are led by Cassidy Anschutz ’24 and Taylor Lucas ’25, who were both named to the 2024 All-NEC Second Team. 

“This team has been bowling together for the past couple of years and they have a lot of experience,” Scott-Jones said. “We’re just trying to maintain our composure and we have a very special group to do that. They want to see how far they can go.”

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