Barnegat Leader Winter Sports Previews

Behind MacGillivray, Barnegat Boys Bowling Team Primed for Big Season

Dec 17, 2018

The greatest blessing for a coach is to have an entire team’s worth of athletes from the previous year back for another season – hence boys bowling coach Michael Palmieri’s excitement heading into December.

“This bowling season could prove to be the best in school history,” he said. “All of last season’s bowlers have returned, and we have only familiar faces on our varsity roster since we lost no seniors to graduation following last season.”

No doubt the Bengals were in great shape as the season began several weeks ago, and Palmieri’s crew is off to an 11-4 start through Dec. 12, trailing Shore Conference South B division leader Manchester by just three victories.

Of course, having an experienced quintet of bowlers is a beautiful thing, but when one of them is the previous season’s division leader in average, that simply adds to the level of confidence. And that’s exactly what senior David MacGillivray brings to the alley every day – a confidence that the Bengals have a shot to win in any game, even against the vaunted Hawks.

“David led the division with a record-breaking 218.82 average,” Palmieri said. “Former Bengals Kevin Manno currently has many of the school records, but this season many, if not all, of those records could become part of David’s growing collection.”

But MacGillivray, the Bengals’ anchorman, who reached the finals of the Shore Conference Tournament last season, isn’t the only one who provides Palmieri with a bunch of confidence. Senior Matt Kulpa brought a 182 average back to the fourth position, while juniors Matt Charland (161) and Mike Pulig (137) and sophomore Anthony Balas (145) were back to occupy the first through third slots in the lineup. Freshman Joseph Spagnola has shown the potential to be among the varsity starters at various points throughout the season.

Most recently, on Dec. 10, Barnegat scored a 3-0 win over Pinelands Regional behind game victories of 876-724, 982-808 and 978-693. MacGillivray led the way with games of 237, 244 and 218 for a 699 series, while Kulpa dropped 201, 223 and 243 pins en route to a 667 series. Charland delivered a 522 series after registering games of 189 and 200 during the second third stints, while Balas came through with a 486 series following scores of 154, 171 and 161. Spagnola contributed games of 151, 155 and 156 for a 462 series as well.

Several days earlier, the Bengals scorched Donovan Catholic, 3-0, which included a 1,000-785 drubbing in the third game of the match – the team’s first thousand of the season. In that third game, MacGillivray posted a 224, while Balas fired a 210, Kulpa tossed a 208, Charland recorded a 188 and Spagnola added a 170.

As for the Barnegat girls, coach Jon Gordon’s squad likely will have a tough time keeping up with perennial division leader Manchester – off to a 15-0 start while the Bengals sat in third at 10-5 as of Dec. 12 – but the Bengals should prove to be an improved team this winter.

Heading into the season, Barnegat returned just two varsity starters from a year ago, senior Precious Anderson and junior Lily Spagnola. Among the part-time varsity and junior varsity players who returned to the alley, senior Shauna Yodice and Jasmine Reid figured to be among the starting crew this winter, while newcomer Jessica MacGillivray and Madison Kubicz, both freshmen, have shown a lot of potential.

Thus far, Anderson has indeed led the way from the anchor position, and on Dec. 10 was the top pin-striker during a 3-0 victory over Pinelands, as the Bengals won 753-569, 734-522 and 781-562. Anderson hit for a 551 series on the strength of 185, 174 and 192 game scores. Spagnola registered a 484 series after rolling games of 178, 147 and 159, while Reid delivered games of 143, 189 and 144 for a 476 series. Yodice added a 157 in the third game as well.

Days earlier, the Bengals shut out Donovan Catholic, 723-537, 778-642 and 787-489 with Anderson not in the lineup. Spagnola led the charge with games of 158, 191 and 203 for a 552 series, while Reid smashed 489 pins during games of 164, 179 and 146, and MacGillivray contributed games of 140, 150 and 137 for a 427 series.

David Biggy

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