NUTLEY – Both the Nutley High School boys’ and girls’ varsity bowling teams placed first in the Essex County Athletic Directors’ Tournament on Monday afternoon, Feb. 8, at Eagle Rock Lanes in West Orange.
The teams are under the guidance of head coach George Ackerman.
The girls’ team won the title for the second year in a row, while the boys’ team won the title for the first time since 2013. This marks the first time both the NHS boys’ and girls’ teams have won in the same season.
The boys posted a score of 2,718 to narrowly place ahead of Livingston and Millburn. The girls posted a score of 1,921 to easily out-distance Montclair and Mount Saint Dominic Academy. Anthony Liloia, who had a 624 series, Chris Liloia, 588, Sayaka Imamura, 438, and Francesca Lentini, 431, also advanced to the Essex County Individual Tournament on Feb.10.
The girls’ team successfully defended its Essex County Championship by rolling games of 628, 720, and 573. The Lady Raiders were in second place to Super Essex Conference-American Division champion Montclair after the first game with a 628 series. The girls went on to roll a tournament-high 720 in the second game, led by Imamura’s 158, Alyssa Pizzano’s 157 and Lentini’s 150 to vault into first place. The girls rolled a 573 during the third game to score a total of 1,921 points and easily outdistance second-place Montclair and third-place Mount Saint Dominic Academy.
“Congratulations to Sayaka Imamura and Francesca Lentini, who posted series of 438 and 431 respectively, who advance to Wednesday’s Essex County Individual Tournament,” said Ackerman. “Sayaka, a third-year bowler, has been the unofficial leader of the team this year and one of the reasons for our success.”
NHS was assisted this year by Adam Smith, a first-year science teacher at NHS. “He has donated his time working with the young bowlers all season, and, in particular the girls. His presence on Monday afternoon was a huge reason for our success,” said Ackerman.
The NHS boys’ bowling team led after the first game with a score of 958. Anthony Liloia’s 201, Jordan Cacio’s 207 and Chris Liloia’s 213 led the way and provided the bowlers with a solid start. The team faltered during the second game, missed a number of simple spares and dropped to third place.
“We held a short pep talk and I told the boys that the tournament was theirs to win if they wanted it badly enough,” said Ackerman. “They were invigorated and started out the third game with three clean frames, plus a pair of turkeys. The Raiders continued to rally during the third game, rolled a solid ninth and 10th frame with numerous doubles, to post a tournament-high 997 series to narrowly beat out second-place Livingston and third-place Millburn. Sophomore Dominic Torres stepped it up during this exciting game, rolling a 201. The Liloia brothers posted games of 233 and 206 to lead Nutley to victory. This was the Raider boys’ sixth County Championship and first since 2013. Congratulations to Anthony and Chris Liloia for posting 624 and 588 series respectively and advancing to Wednesday’s Essex County Individual Tournament,” said Ackerman.
“On the boys’ side, senior Chris Liloia has been the unspoken leader of this team, leading not only by example, but giving inspirational pep talks when needed. His leadership has been invaluable to the success of our team for the past four years,” continued Ackerman.
Essex County Tournament
Anthony Liloia: 201, 190, 233 – 624
Andrew Irwin: 169, 114, 165 – 448
Dominic Torres: 168, 153, 201 – 522
Jordan Cacio: 207, 137, 193 – 536
Chris Liloia: 213, 169, 206 – 588
Alyssa Pizzano: 107, 157, 89 – 353
Sofia Pramagioulis: 131, 129, 117 – 377
Natalie Hernandez: 91, 126, 105 – 322
Francesca Lentini: 145, 150, 136 – 431
Sayaka Imamura: 154, 158, 126 – 438