JOLIET – After finishing 14th at the girls bowling state tournament in 2013 – a year after taking second place – Minooka has two early areas of special emphasis.
Coach Frank Yudzentis said the Indians are stressing team chemistry more now than at any other time in his 20 years of coaching girls bowling. They also are trying to ensure they save their best scores for late in the season, which they did not do in 2012-13.
“We did peak early, but I don’t know a way to prevent it or like delay it in the sense that we just need to keep trying our hardest,” senior Emily Koulis said. “I think it just happened to work out that way. ... Bowling’s funny.”
The Indians’ ability, or lack thereof, to come together as a team may have played a role in their demise at the 2013 state tournament, Yudzentis said.
“I’m gonna take something out of that experience and realize that team chemistry may have played a role. You can’t say for certain,” he said. “That’s something that we’re gonna emphasize this year.”
Koulis is one of five returnees for Minooka who bowled at least one game at state in 2012, although she is the only one that bowled all six. Senior Kayly Windbiel and juniors Lexi Jones and Kortney Sickler also have state experience. Koulis, however, is the only remaining bowler that appeared at state in 2012, when the Indians took second.
Yudzentis identifies four other primary candidates to fill out the lineup. They are senior Lexi Sponseller, junior Heather McCubbins, sophomore Nora Russell and freshman Cheryl Eyman.
“We do have a good mix,” Yudzentis said. “I think we have enough experience that it could be helpful to some of the younger kids that haven’t had that opportunity.”
Every tournament is important, Yudzentis said, but the Southwest Prairie Conference Tournament and the state series – which for the first time includes a regional round – are higher on the Indians’ priority list. Koulis wants to finish her career 4-for-4 in qualifying for and appearing at the state tournament.
“My goals are mainly team goals – to work together, be a team, try and get back to the state tournament, place at any tournament we can, do good at regional, do good at sectional and hopefully be able to make it to that state level,” Koulis said. “But in order to do that, we have to be a team.”