Shaler bowlers handle pressure, qualify for regionals

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Thursday, February 27, 2020 | 11:47 PM


Bella Pilyih knew the margin of error for the Shaler Area girls bowling team to reach the step-ladder portion of the WPIBL championships was going to be thin.

The senior wanted to make sure her team reached the Western Regionals. Pilyih made the most of her opportunity, starting with six consecutive strikes and bowling a 266 to help Shaler reach the knockout rounds.

“At the time, I wasn’t thinking about pressure,” said Pilyih, who will bowl at Penn State Behrend next season. “I was focused on being consistent. I was bowling well that game and it worked out in the end.”

The Titans, who finished as a runner-up to Greensburg Salem, edged Burrell by 12 pins to reach the step-ladder. Shaler then beat section rival Butler to reach the finals.

Taking down the Golden Tornado on the way to the finals was important for the Titans, who split with them during the regular season.

“It was really exciting because we were against the same team in the semis that we were last year,” Pilyih said. “It was cool to beat them and move on.”

Shaler will compete in the Wetsern Pennsylvania championships on March 6-7 with the state championships following the next week.

Pilyih wants to make the most of the opportunity for the Titans. Shaler reached the regionals last season but failed to qualify for states.

“I feel like we will do better than last year,” Titans coach Shawn Pilyih said. “We didn’t bowl well at regionals. This year, we will be more calm. They put a lot of pressure on themselves last year.”

Shaler also had four individual bowlers qualify for regionals. Bella Pilyih, Lexi Pilyih and Shannon Roche qualified on the girls’ side. Titans freshman Ryan Callahan will compete at the boys regional.

“I feel like they did really well,” Shawn Pilyih said. “They exceeded expectations again.”

Continuing their strong showing will put Shaler close to its goal. The Titans are focused on their spare shooting. By being effective in that area, Shaler is hoping to march on to states.

“We are extremely excited,” Bella Pilyih said. “We are one of the top teams in the league. We think we have a better chance than last year. I really want to make it as a team this year.”

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