Linden bowlers best top-seeded Union to capture Union County Tournament championship for 2nd time in 3 years; Union Catholic places 3rd

PHOTO COURTESY OF JOE SKREC – The Linden Tigers won the bowling Union County Tournament championship at Jersey Lanes in Linden. Pictured, from left, are Coach Cherie Pizzano, Matthew Soto, Anthony Golabek, Darius Lewis, James Fitz, Justin Peters and Principal Yelena Horre.

It came down to Linden vs. Union.

No, it wasn’t football, soccer or basketball, or baseball.

This time It was to see which bowling team would capture the 2018 Union County Tournament championship.

The title is back in Linden.

Second-seeded Linden defeated top-seeded Union 3-1 in the championship match held Thursday, Jan. 25 at Jersey Lanes in Linden.

The final day of competition on Thursday featured the top eight teams from Monday’s (Jan. 22) opening round, with them competing in a best-of-five Baker-style format.

Union won the first game vs. Linden 196-180, but the Tigers roared back and rolled to victories in the next three games, winning 189-186, 279-214 and 216-164 to secure the first-place trophy and medals.

The Linden lineup included Matthew Soto, Anthony Golabek, Darius Lewis, James Fitz and Justin Peters. Golabek finished fifth in the individual competition held Wednesday (Jan. 24).

The Tigers, coached by Cherie Pizzano, last won the UCT in 2016.

Linden needed five games to advance past seventh-seeded Scotch Plains-Fanwood in its first match Thursday. The Tigers defeated Dayton 3-1 in the semifinals.

Union defeated Elizabeth 3-0 and Union Catholic 3-1 to reach the championship match.

Union’s lineup included girls’ champion Kiara Powell; Kevin Oliveira, who finished fourth in the boys’ competition; Samantha Valle, Lacey Beall and Nick Melchionna, who earlier this year bowled his first 300 game and in the UCT boys’ competition placed seventh.

In one Baker-style game, fifth-seeded Union Catholic defeated sixth-seeded Dayton 215-204 to finish the UCT in third place.