Robert Morris-Illinois women’s team captures 2019 Intercollegiate Team Championships

DAYTON, Ohio – The Robert Morris-Illinois women’s team faced a deficit in almost every match on its way to earning its spot in the final of the 2019 Intercollegiate Team Championships.

The championship match against McKendree, which was televised Tuesday night on CBS Sports Network, was no different.

After losing the first two games in the best-of-five title match at Poelking Lanes South, Robert Morris-Illinois stormed back to force a deciding fifth game. The last bowler to step on the approach, Eagles senior Courtney Ermisch, needed two strikes and four pins to give her team the title.

“All I could ask is I go and make the two best shots,” Ermisch said. “If I don’t strike, I don’t strike, but I wanted to go out knowing I made the two best shots.”

Ermisch struck on her first shot and buried the second. She then put down nine more pins for a 183-177 victory and the title.

“That is the stuff that, in your dream, you need a double or three to win it, and you get it,” Ermisch said. “Obviously, winning a title has been a dream forever and this is insane. I don’t have words right now. I’m still shaking, still speechless.”

McKendree was making its third consecutive appearance in the ITC title match. The Bearcats won the ITC and NCAA Women’s Championships titles in 2017, then finished as runner-up in both events last season.

When the Eagles, comprised of Ermisch, Mattie Brandos, Molly Brandos, Britney Brown, Morgan Petrin, Megan Macunovich, Danyell Chupp, and Veronica Dreyfus, lost the first two games of the women’s championship match by scores of 230-205 and 177-165, it simply put them in a familiar position.

“For whatever reason, we have to lose a couple of games, then come back and win,” Eagles coach Bob Voight said. “It doesn’t seem to matter how we bowl. If you watch that first game, we threw a good game. They just rolled a 230.

“We’ve come back in a lot of games and threw the back four or back five to win. It’s very apropos that we win on Courtney coming up and executing, acing the last two shots.”

The Eagles, making their first trip to the ITC since 2015 when they finished second, lost the opening game of all but one of its five matches leading up to the title.

In Game 3 of the title match, the Eagles took advantage of two single-pin misses by McKendree for a 212-185 win, and posted seven strikes in a 217-181 Game 4 victory to force the deciding game.

“I think the spark of it being ‘now or never’ is kind of where we thrived,” said Ermisch, who was selected as the tournament’s most valuable player in leading the Eagles to the program’s second title. “We didn’t have another game to wait, it was either go-time or time to go home. In this team, we never give up, there’s no quit.”

Joining Ermisch on the all-tournament team were McKendree’s Breanna Clemmer, Alexis Neuer of Delaware State, Lindenwood’s Haley Cummings and Olivia Farwell of Duquesne. Farwell also was selected as the Chris Stoehr Sportsmanship Award winner.

The 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams at the ITC qualified by finishing in the top four at one of four sectional events held in March. At the national tournament, teams bowled 24 Baker qualifying games to determine seeding for the double-elimination bracket, which featured best-of-seven Baker matches leading up to the title matches, where best-of-five finals. provided live coverage of qualifying and match-play rounds leading up to the televised finals.

CBS Sports Network will air the Intercollegiate Team Championships men’s title match next Tuesday, May 14, at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Visit for more information on the Intercollegiate Team Championships.

At Poelking Lanes South, Dayton, Ohio

Robert Morris-Illinois def. McKendree, 3-2 (205-230, 165-177, 212-185, 217-181, 183-177)