Vanderbilt’s Maria Bulanova Named 2019 Southland Bowler of the Year
DALLAS, Texas – Vanderbilt’s Maria Bulanova is the 2019 Southland Bowling League Bowler of the Year, the league announced Thursday. Southland Bowling League yearly awards are presented by Ready Nutrition.Bulanova has consistently pushed her Vanderbilt squad to success throughout the season helping the Commodores to five tournament wins throughout the 2018-19 season, while earning MVP honors on two occasions and All-Tournament recognition four times. Bulanova, who is coming off her second Southland Bowler of the Month honor, for her play in February, leads the Southland Bowling League with a 21.09 overall frame average. The Vandy junior has also posted a league-best 20.78 frame average in Traditional Format games as well as a 21.30 average in Baker Format matches. Bulanova is dealing a 52.9 percent overall strike percentage for the year on 1,304 attempts. Her honor as the Southland Bowler of the Year marks the inaugural presentation of the award for the league.Also among the Southland Bowling award winners is Sam Houston State’s Bea Hernandez who was named Newcomer of the Year. The Bearkat freshman leads the league in in Baker Format 10th frame scoring average (28.11). Hernandez has registered a strike percentage of 50.04% on 1,273 frames bowled. The honor makes Hernandez the first-ever Newcomer of the Year award recipient for the league.The 2019 Southland Bowling League Championship is set to open up Friday with all eight league members meeting at USA Bowl in Dallas. The event is scheduled to take place over a three-day period, with Friday’s four first-round matches set for an 8:30 a.m. CT start. Each round of this year’s tournament will feature a live stream on InsideBowling.com. For the complete schedule of matches and game lane assignments, see the full 2019 tournament bracket. The tournament will be a double-elimination format.For the second consecutive year, the tournament winner from qualified conferences’ championships will be granted an automatic qualification into the NCAA tournament. The Southland Bowling League has been deemed a qualified conference and will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA championship through the tournament winner.Vanderbilt enters the Southland Tournament as the No. 1 seed and will take on No. 8 Valparaiso in their opening round matchup. The Commodores are one of two teams in the league to have won the Southland Tournament title on two occasions. Vanderbilt, the reigning NCAA national champion, will look to add their third Southland title since joining the league.Sam Houston State, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, has shown strong throughout the year earning a second-place team finish at the Hawk Flight Invite in Egg Harbor, N.J. on March 3. The Bearkats are slated to take on No. 7 Louisiana Tech in Friday’s match four on lanes 31-32 at 8:30 a.m.No. 3 seed Arkansas State enters postseason contention after claiming the 2018 Southland Tournament Championship with a win over Stephen F. Austin. The Red Wolves notched a first-place finish at the Prairie View A&M Invitational on Feb. 3. Arkansas State will face off against No. 6 Youngstown State at 8:30 a.m. Friday on lanes 27-28.No. 4 Stephen F. Austin will take on No. 5 Tulane Friday morning in an 8:30 a.m. start time on lanes 23-24. The Ladyjacks will be looking for vengeance as they concluded the 2018 Southland Tournament as the runner-up squad. SFA has compiled a pair of first-place finishes this season, which include performances at the Kutztown Invitational Jan. 18-20 as well as the Sunshine State Winter Classic Feb. 8-10 in Orlando, Fla. The NCAA Women’s Bowling Committee will select a field of 12 teams – eight automatic qualifying teams and four at-large teams. Teams will be ranked, based on available selection criteria, with the top four being placed in the championship bracket. The remaining eight teams will play in opening round matches to determine the final four teams that will compete in the championship.Selections for the 2019 National Collegiate Women’s Bowling Championship will be announced on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 via web stream at 4 p.m. on NCAA.com. The 2019 championship will take place at RollHouse Wickliffe in Wickliffe, Ohio, from April 11-13.