WEST CHESTER TWP. — Nicki Lampe referenced her Lakota West High School girls bowling team’s match against Middletown back on Feb. 7 for a reason.
“That game was the epitome of our motto,” said Lampe, who is in her fourth season at the helm. “Like we always say, ‘Spares win matches, and one ball a frame.’
“It was huge then,” added Lampe.
The Firebirds trailed by 112 pins after two games, and they went on to bowl the best bakers games it had all season. Lakota West defeated Middletown by a single pin, 2440-2439, continuing its undefeated campaign.
The Firebirds finished the regular season at 20-0 — the best record in program history. They swept the Greater Miami Conference schedule by going 9-0 for the first time ever.
“When we started practicing before the season, I could see the improvements from last year,” Lampe said. “I could see that this team improved so much for them to get to this point.”
Lakota West placed fourth as a team at the sectional tournament this past weekend at Rollhouse Lanes and will bowl at districts this Friday at Beaver-Vu Bowl in Beavercreek.
“My girls have so much energy and love for the game,” Lampe said. “They root each other on, and they root their opponents on. They coach each other up. They bring so much energy and excitement to the game that you just can’t help but to join them with celebrating and cheering.”
Lampe said there were no captains assigned to this year’s squad, which returned every bowler from a season ago.
“They all contribute in different ways,” Lampe said.
But junior Reese Volk shows leadership qualities. Volk sits atop the GMC with a 195.4 average and was hovering around the 199 mark earlier in the season.
“That’s a competitive family,” Lampe said. “Reese’s brother Tyler bowled for West and reached districts last year. They’ve bowled their whole life. Reese stays motivated because her and Tyler always have that sibling competition.”
This is senior Kylie Carper’s fourth season on the varsity squad, and she’s bowling a team-second best 165.8.
Braden Copeland, a senior, just took up the sport a year ago and has made immense strides, according to Lampe. Her 161.9 average is third best on the team and 11th in the GMC.
“She’s a golfer, but wanted to try bowling out,” Lampe said of Copeland, who took lessons during the summer. “She’s put a lot of heart into it.”
Juniors Stephanie Provchy (151.7) and Maya Simpson (153.1) have bowled together as best friends since they were younger, Lampe said.
Stephanie comes up with the cheers,” the coach said. “Myah likes to lead the cheers at the beginning of the match. Reese is sort of the one who pumps everyone up at the beginning.”
Rounding out the roster are seniors Maria Conn, Katie Moore, Lindsey Rodgers, Emily Turner and Erica Shah.
“These girls stay positive and motivated,” Lampe said. “They play so much better when they have that excitement and that pep in their step. I always tell them to bring on the energy.
“Their skillset and confidence has gotten them this far,” Lampe added. “They aren’t as timid, and they don’t get as down as they used to if they roll a bad ball. They just readjust and try again.
“There’s very much a lot of maturity happening, and they understand that they aren’t going to be perfect all of the time. They just continue to work on their skill and get better as a team.”