Marc My Words!

Sports columnist Marc Maturo’s official column

Friendly rivals McEwan, Carbonetto roll on and on

Danielle McEwan and Jackie Carbonetto go back a long way, to Saturday morning junior leagues when they bowled on the same team, to their high school days at North Rockland and Tappan Zee, respectively, and then their friendly competition continued into the collegiate ranks.

McEwan, a recent graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Carbonetto, a recent Sacred Heart University graduate, were teammates on Junior Team USA and both recently competed at the U.S. Open in Columbus, Ohio, where McEwan placed a resounding third in her pro debut.

Soon, however, they will be going their separate ways following a USBC Queens event at the end of this month in which both of them will compete.

Carbonetto is set to begin her graduate studies at Robert Morris University in Chicago, where she’ll be an assistant coach on the women’s team.

McEwan, who is already looking forward to a Team USA World Cup event in Russia in November, has one year to go toward her master’s degree in elementary education.

McEwan said her third-place showing over the course of six days at the Open in Ohio, was neither expected nor unexpected. “I’m happy with it,” McEwan said. “It was my first Open tournament, and I did pretty good for the first time. It was a good experience, but I picked up some things I need to work on.”

The 21-year-old Stony Point native said a number of people have helped her game over the years, too many to mention, although it was her stepdad, Rob Varano, who was instrumental at the start and owns Hi-Tor Lanes in West Haverstraw.

“He got my foot in the door,” recalls McEwan. “He never pushed me. I bowled just for the fun and fell in love with it.”

McEwan, a two-time FDU athlete of the year, enjoyed a very successful pro debut, falling to eventual champion Liz Johnson in the semifinals.

All told, McEwan topped 1,664 pins in eight games for an average of 208.  She recorded a high game of 234 and held sixth place in a field of 111 after the first day of professional competition.

During the second block of qualifying, McEwan recorded a 204 average and a high game of 230, with her total pinfall of 1,634 increasing her ranking to fourth.

McEwan continued her professional career with a total pinfall of 1,686 in eight games of the third qualifying block.  She recorded a high game of 236, while also bowling games of 235 and 232.  The strong round gave McEwan a 210 average and helped her hold the fourth-place position after the final qualifying round.

McEwan climbed to third during the cashers round, knocking down 1,264 pins in six games for a 210.66 average and a high game of 243.  McEwan’s tournament pinfall after the cashers round totaled 6,248, fewer than 100 pins shy of the leader.

In three rounds of match play, McEwan held an average of 201.73.  She recorded a high game of 242 through 23 games and maintained third place as the tournament entered a playoff format.

McEwan bowled a 202 in the position round before defeating Diandra Ashbaty, 192-171, in the stepladder round.

McEwan faced two-time Open Champion Johnson, in the semifinal round, which was broadcast live on ESPN.  McEwan ultimately fell, 227-202.

(Johnson went on to defeat Kelly Kulick, 257-195 in the final to capture her third Open championship.)

McEwan earned a prize of $15,000 in her professional debut, in which she averaged 205 through 56 games with a total pinfall of 11,484.

McEwan’s stellar showing was not surprising, if you listen to Carbonetto, who knows of what she speaks from firsthand experience.

“She’s absolutely relentless, never gives up,” observed Carbonetto. “She has a desire you don’t see in many people on the lanes … very driven person when it comes to bowling. Off the lanes she’s a good friend.”

Danielle McEwan stars in pro debut
Danielle McEwan stars in pro debut

Lu Ann Carbonetto, Jackie’s mom and an early mentor who coaches the boys and girls teams at Tappan Zee HS with her electrician husband, Sal, adds that Danielle – like her friendly rival Jackie – was not only an all-American in college but an academic all-American as well.

“Danielle’s very accomplished, polished, at a very high level,” added Carbonetto the Elder, herself a veteran competitor with a 300 game at Hi-Tor Lanes on her resume, but who humbly admits that the younger gals have raised their games to another level.

“They’d handle me pretty easily,” said Lu Ann. “They compete on an invisible field at their level – lanes dressed and (different) patterns that the casual observer doesn’t see. I don’t have that. To compete against them I’d expect a handicap, and that’s OK.”

Carbonetto, the TZ coach, still competes in leagues at Hi-Tor Lanes and White Plains Bowl in Westchester County, adding to her 30-plus years in the game.

“I’m not a pro, but I compete in some professional events, most recently the USBC Senior Queens; I finished third,” she said.

Lu Ann, of course, had a hand early-on in helping her daughter hone her skills, but Jackie also credits Sacred Heart University coach Becky Kregling and assistant coach Richard Jacobson in raising the mental level in her game.

“That’s the strongest part of my game, the mental aspect,” said Jackie. “People tell me they can’t tell if I’m bowling 150 or bowling 250.”

Jacobson, who owns the pro shop at White Plains Bowl, still drills Jackie’s bowling balls.

Jackie, who will be part of a major Division I bowling program at Robert Morris, is naturally excited about the transition into coaching.

“It’s great to be able to stay in the bowling world a bit longer,” notes Jackie, who rolled a 300 two years ago in U.S. team trials at the Texas Station Hotel’s bowling complex in Las Vegas.

Jackie Carbonetto
Jackie Carbonetto

Recalling her perfect game, Carbonetto recounted the 10th and final frame as if it were yesterday.

“The first ball was great; the second was great; on the last ball the (No.) 4 pin spun on the deck and eventually fell – but it was late,” Carbonetto said.

Not said but understood: Better late than never.

HUSKIES PICKED TO HOWL

With a stingy defense led by senior Conner Alexander of Blauvelt, the Northeastern University soccer team opened preseason camp as the top choice in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll.

The Huskies — coming of a stellar 14-3-4 campaign in which they won their first-ever conference tournament title and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003 —  received three first-place votes and 44 total points. Drexel also got three first-place votes and finished second with 41 points. James Madison picked up one first-place tally and was third with 36 points, while Hofstra also got a first-place vote and was right behind with 35 points. UNCW was fifth in the balloting, followed by William & Mary, College of Charleston and Delaware.

This marks the first time that the Huskies have been slotted for the top spot since Northeastern joined the CAA in 2005, and only the second time that any NU sport was picked as the favorite, joining volleyball in 2012.

Northeastern set program records for most wins, fewest losses and longest unbeaten streak (12) while tying the team record for longest winning streak (six).

Alexander is one of eight returning starters from last season’s team that welcome 10 freshmen, the most of any team in the conference.

Northeastern defender Conner Alexander
Northeastern defender Conner Alexander

Following exhibition contests at Boston College (Aug. 18) and against New Hampshire (Aug. 24), the Huskies will open the regular season at the John Rennie /Nike Invitational in Durham, N.C., against future league foe Elon on Aug. 30 at 5 p.m.

THIS & THAT

DUTCHMEN FLAG FOOTBALL – a non-contact league for students entering grades three through eight – is open to students in all school districts. Play is scheduled to begin Sept. 7 and run through Nov. 2, at Cottage Lane Elementary in Blauvelt.

One practice per week is on tap, teaching fundamentals including stance, ball-handling, passing, receiving, kicking and punting.

For information email: dutchmenflagfootball@gmail.com.

PAT KIVLEHAN of West Nyack is batting .283 in 60 games with the Clinton, Iowa, LumberKings, a Class A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners organization. Kivlehan, a third baseman, has three homers and 31 RBI for the LumberKings, who are struggling to reach .500 in fifth place in the Western Division of the Midwest League.

            THE NANUET LL SOFTBALL 10-11 team went 8-0 in all-star competition, winning the state championship with a 13-1 victory over East Meadow. Nanuet had beaten Wappingers Falls 4-2 to win the Section 4 title, and won the District 18 championship with a 12-4 victory over South Orangetown.

SARAH ADLER of Suffern is a freshman forward on the Northeastern University women’s field hockey team, which went 14-7 last season and made its second straight appearance in both the CAA title game and the NCAA tournament. The Huskies are picked to finish second in the conference this season, according to a vote by league coaches.

DEVON RIVERA starred on the mound as Rockland Elite 10U won the New York State Metro baseball championship in decisive 15-1 fashion against the Clarkstown Stars.

THE NYACK INDIANS jumped on pitcher Mike Nassisi early and defeated the Rockland Astros, 6-5, in the deciding game of the North Jersey Amateur Baseball League (NJABL) season. The Indians, winning the NJABL championship for the fifth time, scored three runs in the first inning, featuring a two-run double by former Tappan Zee HS two-sport standout Ryan O’Rourke. Nyack extended the lead to 6-1 behind the pitching of Mike Pasch, but the Astros scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning before veteran Dan Tauken quelled the uprising.

RALPH CORDISCOnotes our intrepid insider and Hall of Famer Tom Dohertyis “back home” in the Sunrise Senior Living Facility in New City after rehabilitation at Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw. The legendary North Rockland HS football coach can be reached at 845-826-2108 (cell).

BOB VELTIDI, another Hall of Fame coach with roots in Nanuet and Suffern, is recovering at home after undergoing  knee replacement surgery. For certain, he would enjoy hearing from anyone at bigbv@hotmail.com

RIP

Jack McMahon, former teacher, coach and athletic director at Tappan Zee HS, passed away at the age of 88 in Florida. McMahon served in World War II as a member of the famous “Flying Tigers” fighting squadron in the Pacific/, and then playing on the practice football squad at Notre Dame University under legendary Coach Frank Leahy!

Dave Mumme, Spring Valley HS Class of 1965, passed away at 65, in Texas. He was a 2010 inductee into the Rockland County Track & Field Hall of Fame. Mumme was graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and had a distinguished career as a research pilot for NASA.

DATES TO NOTE

September 18:  Annual Steve Drummond Memorial Scholarship Fund’s Challenger Little League Golf Tourney will be held at Spook Rock Golf Course in Suffern with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Lunch at noon, followed by cocktails (5:30 p.m.) and dinner (6:30 p.m.). For information, contact Laurie Rindskopf at 845-627-5250 or lhr2124@optonline.net

September 19: Annual Pearl River Rotary Ed Bouton Memorial Golf Outing (Scramble Format) at Blue Hill Golf Course in Pearl River beginning at noon. The outing also includes lunch (Emmett’s Castle) and dinner (Old Tappan Manor). Contact Jim Shepard for information at 845-735-6259 or jshepard@optonline.net