ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. - Bryanna Coté of Tucson, Arizona, was in full control as she climbed the ladder in dominating fashion to claim her third career Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour title Sunday.
The reigning PWBA Player of the Year defeated Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, 212-152, to win the PWBA BVL Classic at Maple Lanes.
Coté earned $10,000 for the win, which was her first of the 2022 PWBA Tour season. The BVL Classic was broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.
Coté, the No. 4 seed, entered the title match on a roll after tossing games of 289, 243 and 278 for an 810 series.
She continued the strong start against McEwan, striking in three of the first five frames, while McEwan opened with two single-pin spares, a strike and an additional single-pin spare. But, the fifth frame foreshadowed the rest of the match for McEwan as she left a 7-10 split to trail by 23 pins after five frames.
For the first time Sunday, Coté couldn’t put together three consecutive strikes and settled for spares in the sixth, seventh and eighth frames to hold a 21-pin lead. McEwan, working on a strike in the seventh, had a chance to take the lead but left back-to-back 7-10 splits in the eighth and ninth frames, which sealed the win for Coté.
Coté was making her fourth championship-round appearance in the last five events, and the fourth time proved to be the charm.
“It feels relieving and amazing,” said Coté, a seven-time Team USA member. “In my interview for TV today I said, ‘You have to learn to bowl on TV.’ I think I had to learn how to bowl on TV again. I was fortunate enough to win my first time on TV in 2016, and winning on BowlTV last year. It’s just steppingstones of learning to make good shots, learning to win matches and then finally being able to make the shots when they count. And, stick to a simple game plan, and that’s what I did today and it paid off.”
The 36-year-old right-hander looked similar in her runner-up finish at the recent St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open. She was in control during the first three matches before losing her ball reaction against top qualifier Breanna Clemmer of Clover, South Carolina.
The outcome was certainly different today as Coté had a better understanding of how the lanes might play as the matches continued.
“I think I had a better handle on the pair as it transitioned,” Coté said. “In St. Pete, I felt the lanes really transitioned quickly in the championship match against Bre, so it kind of got away from me. I couldn’t play catch up quick enough, and she bowled phenomenal. I was fortunate enough to be on top of my moves today and know what the game plan was if I saw something different. Today, it was simply to control the pocket, make your spares and hope they fall.”
At the season-opening Rockford Open, Coté missed the cut. It was her first event as the reigning player of the year, and she admitted that maybe her “emotions got the best of her” after “having some expectations that she didn’t see coming.”
She regrouped quickly at the United States Bowling Congress Queens, and despite being eliminated earlier than she would’ve liked (tied for 17th), it was a quick turning point for the season. Following the first major, Coté began her streak of three consecutive championship-round appearances and four appearances in five events.
Her finishes during that span include a fourth-place finish at the Twin Cities Open and back-to-back runner-up finishes at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open and Long Island Classic, respectively.
“I told myself not to think about that,” said Coté, referencing the unnecessary expectations she placed on herself after winning the 2021 PWBA Player of the Year award. “‘You’re still you. You still go out there and still be consistent. You hit the pocket and you make your spares. Last year is done. This is a completely new year, and you need to just be yourself and bowl.
“It started to turn around at the Queens. I felt like I got knocked out early, but I bowled well and started to build the momentum for the rest of the season. I just kept riding the wave and stuck to my game plan, being me, and not thinking about what could be or what was.”
In the semifinal match, Coté defeated two-time PWBA Player of the Year Shannon O’Keefe of Shiloh, Illinois, 278-224. Coté started the match with eight consecutive strikes before a 10 pin ended her run at the $10,000 bonus from GoBowling.com for a perfect game. O’Keefe was looking for her 16th career PWBA title.
In Match 2, Coté knocked off Stefanie Johnson of McKinney, Texas, 243-166. Another strong start from Coté combined with some late-match struggles on the right lane for Johnson was the difference. Johnson was searching for her fifth career PWBA title.
In the opening match, Coté began with a conversion of the 4 pin before connecting for 10 consecutive strikes to defeat Latvia’s Diana Zavjalova, 289-202. Zavjalova was looking for her fifth career title.
The BVL Classic was the third and final event of the Long Island Classic Series, which also included the Long Island Classic and BowlTV Classic.
Liz Kuhlkin of Schenectady, New York, and Singapore’s Cherie Tan each won their third career PWBA titles at the Long Island and BowlTV Classic, respectively.
The Long Island Classic and BowlTV Classic featured the same format. Each event featured 12 games of qualifying to determine the top 12 players for round-robin match play. At the conclusion of match play, the top five athletes, based on total pinfall and bonus pins, advanced to the stepladder finals.
The top 24 athletes based on their combined qualifying totals for the Long Island Classic and BowlTV Classic (24 games) determined the advancers to the BVL Classic.
Pinfall dropped at the beginning of the BVL Classic, with all advancers bowling three eight-game blocks of round-robin match play Saturday and Sunday. The top five competitors, based on total pinfall and bonus pins, advanced to the stepladder finals.
The PWBA Tour heads to upstate New York and South Glens Falls for the U.S. Women’s Open. The event will be held at Kingpin’s Alley Family Fun Center. Josie Barnes of Hermitage, Tennessee, is the defending champion.