DIXON – The consensus after the first game of Thursday's dual bowling match between Dixon and Sterling was that it was time to make some adjustments.
Sterling took the first game between the two early leaders in the NIB-12, but Dixon rallied to sweep the last two for a 3,105-2,797 win.
"We just had to come together and stay positive," Dixon senior Jenna Longan said about the first game that the Duchesses lost 926-908. "We knew that we could do better.
"Winning this means a lot, because they are our rival," Longan said. "But with this being my senior year, I really want to be on the top of the conference."
Dixon took eight of the 10 conference points. That puts the Duchesses in sole possession of first place with a total record of 34-6. Sterling drops behind at 28-12.
"I am still really pleased with where we are at," Sterling coach Dennis Black said. "With three new bowlers in the lineup, I didn't think we'd be here at this point. But, they are better bowlers than they were 2 weeks ago, and they keep working hard. We didn't lose tonight because of a lack of effort. We just need more experience."
Longan and freshman teammate Katlyn Bay both moved to the right on the boards throughout the day in order to find the pocket.
It worked, as Longan went from two straight 165s to end with a 213 in the final game. That included finishing the day with four straight strikes.
"Jenna is our most consistent bowler," Dixon coach Larry LaCoursiere said. "We know that we can depend on her for that almost every day. It's important for the team to have someone like that out there."
Bay started slowly with a 136, but improved nearly 50 pins in each of the last two games. She hit a 183 in the second game, and, despite a 7-10 split on her second throw in the 10th frame, she still finished with a 222 game.
Dixon had three 200 individual games in the final team game, including Emily Quaco's 234. Dixon's pin total was 1,168 in the final game.
Longan had high series at 543, followed by Bay at 541, and Ashley Currier at 535.
"We definitely can build off this," Bay said. "We know that we can bowl this well, and it will give us confidence for our next match by finishing like that."
Like Bay and Longan, Sterling's Magan Tintori was shaking her head through most of the first game. Tintori and Destinee Howard are the two heavy hitters in the Warriors' lineup.
Howard started strong with a 215 and finished with a 566 series.
Tintori opened with a 127, but rebounded with games of 233 and 244 for a team-high series of 614.
"She looked at me toward the end of the first game and asked what she could do," Black said. "I just told her to move between the second and third arrows. She threw a strike on the first ball, so I said just stay there."
Erin Tabor added a 500 series, while newcomers Sydney Segretto (393), Paige Bauser (367) and Athziri Quintero (357) struggled in the big-match atmosphere.
"I thought there might be a little more nerves than there were," Tintori said. "I think this is something that we can all learn from. We just have to keep on working on getting better, and I think we will be fine."
Star of the match: Magan Tintori, Sterling, high-series of 614 with games of 233 and 244
Key performers: Jenna Longan, Dixon, 543; Katlyn Bay, Dixon, 541 series
Up next: Dixon, Sterling at LaSalle-Peru Invite, 9 a.m. Saturday