Monroe boys stun JFK in GMCs

By: James McKeever
   There weren’t many people on the Greater Middlesex Conference bowling scene who thought Monroe had much of a chance at beating J.F. Kennedy in the GMC Tournament.
   The Falcons, seeded 13th, had to bowl against Kennedy, the No. 4 seed, without their leader Gregg Puleio, who was sidelined with an illness.
   Monroe, however, rallied for a 2-1 victory in the best-of-three games format to pull off the stunning victory. Monroe lost to Kennedy, 3-1, during the regular season.
   "It was nice to get a win," said Falcons coach George Packard. "In the tournament it’s just about winning games, it’s not about total wood (overall pin total). The guys knew what they were up against, going against a great team like Kennedy without Gregg. Kennedy was also missing their best bowler, too. Our kids did what they needed to win."
   Monroe scored a 960-945 victory in the opening game. Kennedy pulled even with a 961-881 triumph in game two. Monroe claimed the decisive game, 905-903.
   "Our kids just came out and bowled," Packard said. "In a tournament like this I don’t think they needed to find inspiration somewhere else. Shawon (Danser), Mike (Leatherwood) and Danny (Seyfried) had a pretty good tournament."
   Leatherwood rolled a couple of 200 games against Kennedy. He had a 225 and 204 in his 621 series. Seyfried produced a 207 game in a 565 set. Danser fired off a 207 game and a 552 series. Nick Zirkel rolled a 543.
   The victory sent the Falcons on to Monday’s quarterfinals, where they lost to fifth-seeded St. Joseph’s, 2-0. Monroe’s final record is 11-13-1.
   St. Joseph’s won convincingly, sweeping the series 1,158-813 and 947-894. Leatherwood (213 games) had the team’s best series with a 393. Seyfried had a 201 and 382. Danser rolled a 340 set.
   Monroe’s season is not over yet. The Falcons will compete in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Sectional on Saturday at Carolier Lanes. The top five teams and top 15 individuals from the loaded field gain berths in the state finals on Feb. 20.
   "We didn’t bowl well against St. Joe’s," Packard said. "We’re going to have to do much better in the sectional on Saturday."
   Monroe’s girls team ended a successful season with a solid showing in the GMCT. Seeded ninth, the Falcons defeated eighth-seeded Colonia, 2-0, last Thursday. Colonia defeated Monroe twice during the regular season.
   After winning the first game, 736-682, the Falcons dropped a 919 series – their highest of the season – on Colonia for a 107-pin victory in game two.
   "They came out and bowled really well," Packard said of his girls team. "It was a good win, especially since they beat us twice in the regular season."
   Jen Matikonis powered Monroe in the second game with a 225 game. Matikonis finished with a 358 set and Shannon Weber rolled a 364 two-game total.
   The victory sent Monroe up against top-seeded Carteret in Monday’s quarterfinals. Carteret swept by scores of 853-734 and 937-775, giving Monroe a final record of 11-10-3.
   "I thought we bowled well against Carteret," Packard said.
   Matikonis had a two-game series of 330 and Weber finished at 329. Val Michaud (292) and Noelle Trinkler (291) came close to 300.