Think that one lonely pin doesn't mean much in a three game bowling match?
Think again, say the Elk Grove Grenadiers.
Monday night at Arlington Lanes, the Grens edged Wheeling 2,605 pins to 2,604 to move into first place in the Mid-Suburban League.
It all came down to the anchor bowler in the final frame, and Elk Grove senior anchor Abby Nix delivered in the clutch.
"Abby filled 17," said Grens first-year coach Jason Svehla of the senior's 10th frame spare and 7-ball, "that gave us the win."
Nix rolled games of 183 and 182 for the Grens, Jamie Hicks added a 185 while Kayleigh Duff fired a game three mark of 234.
"This was a close series, the entire way through," said Svvehla.
Rolling Meadows, led by Phoebe Kim's 590 series and 213 game, defeated Prospect 7-2 to knock the Knights into second place in the MSL, 3 points back of the Grens.
A 176 from Marissa Allen led Hersey over Fremd, while Hoffman Estates junior Sarah Wille continued to excel in the Hawks' 9-0 win over Buffalo Grove.
Wille knew a lot would be expected of her this season as the MSL's top returning bowler (she was fifth overall in 2012), and to say that's she's handled it with grace under pressure might be an understatement.
The junior came into Monday night's meet as conference average leader (198.05), and against BG she fired a 598 series with games of 211 and 209.
"In the beginning of the season," said the junior, "I might have been letting the pressure get to me a little and it was affecting my scores."
"I started thinking about it and I finally realized that I couldn't try to live up to everyone's expectations. I decided to live up to my own expectations and those of my coach (Dan Pfligler), and not go out there to try to impress anyone -- and that's helped me stay in control."
Anna Haller rolled a 200 game for the Bison, who field a young starting lineup (198.05) but have been improving week to week.
"Our goal is to hit a 775 series every game," said the junior, "and so far, we've been doing that more often than not."
Haller said that she feels it's incumbent upon her to be one of the team leaders this season.
"It means a lot knowing I can go out there and help the other girls the way everyone helped me when I was a freshman and sophomore," Haller said.
Schaumburg scored a win over Barrington as Danielle Yohe shot the best game (246) and series (624) of the evening, while teammate Shannon Maiers pitched in with a 200 game.
Other scores of note Monday included a 182 from Barrington's Jaclyn Moncek; a 191 from Kaeyleigh Burnitz of Fremd; Wheeling's Aline Bardak excelled with a 596 series (226 third game); while Caitlyn Wooton of Meadows shot a 202 in her final attempt of the night.
Anna Lessner's 567 series couldn't help Palatine overtake Conant, which won the match against the Pirates as the Cougars' Angela Anzalone shot two games of 201 to move into third place in the league.
Lessner has improved by 34 pins over last year's average. The senior owns the second-best individual mark in the MSL this year (194.72 before Monday's action), is tied for the best game in conference (277 along with Nicole Cusack of Prospect) and owns the season's top series, a 698.
"She's just so consistent," said Pirates coach John Burke. "She has her little area and always hits her mark, her footwork is the same every time, and she throws the ball the same way every time. She picks up her spares and she's been getting a few more strikes lately and that's been helping her scores."
"Everything's just been coming together for me," said Lessner. "It's exciting. I'm taking every game frame-by-frame this year instead of looking at the big picture and that's been helping."