Knights roll their way to a win in bocce match

Erin Chi rolling the ball in the second match

TOWAMENCIN- The Special Olympic code recited at every bocce ball game calls for bravery, yet bravery was not the only quality on the court Tuesday afternoon. At the bocce ball game on February 27th, North Penn’s gym was filled with talent, teamwork, and unity by both the North Penn and Souderton unified Bocce Ball teams. After 4 matches played, North Penn won the game, winning 3 out of the 4 matches over Souderton.

“Our teams did great. I think every student on the team, athlete or partner, worked well together communicating, helping each other where to go, where to stand, and where to aim. Things are looking good for next week. Next week it comes down to Souderton again and Cheltenham. A good guide is that we beat both of them. Hopefully we can continue that to next week. If we don’t, it’s okay. We are still all having fun, learning new things and playing a new game,” said Head Coach Christine Panaski.

In the first match, North Penn was trailing behind Souderton in the first frame. After tying up the score in the second frame, North Penn pulled away with a lead going from 3-3 to 7-3 by the fourth frame. With athletes Noah Ziegler and Melissa Older having great rolls, North Penn took the win in the final frame, beating Souderton 9-3.

Noah Ziegler rolling the ball in the first match

“We did really well. We tried our best and it turns out that we won. Our communication and teamwork was one of our bests today. I like the fun of bocce ball and how everyone is always participating and working together. I practice a lot before games and I keep getting better,” said Ziegler.

The next match was a bit of a nailbiter. North Penn took an early lead in the first frame, but Souderton had no problem keeping up. At the fifth frame North Penn was in the lead 7-5, but when Souderton caught up in the sixth frame, the match went into a tie-breaker frame. In the tie breaker frame, athlete Erin Chi and partner Jackie Galang both had game changing rolls to help North Penn win the second match 8-7.

“We did an amazing job. We used communication and talked a lot about strategy. We did an amazing job using teamwork. I like everything about bocce ball. At first I was nervous and scared, but after playing for a while I got good,” said Chi.

“We have practiced a lot since our last match, and it has payed off. We focused heavily on strategy and you could see that today. There is definitely some room for improvement, but overall we did really well,” said Galang.

Captains going over the rules before the start of a match

With an amazing comeback, the third match was one to watch all the way to the end. For the first three frames, North Penn kept Souderton off the board winning 5-0. By the fifth frame Souderton had a made a comeback trailing behind North Penn by only 6-4. In the 6th and final frame Souderton took the win, just edging North Penn 7-6.

“I think the team did really well. They endured and rolled very well. I thought they had very strong games today. Talking to each other and communicating is top notch. They do that before they get into the court and give a lot of encouragement during the games. The kids are very competitive and love playing with their friends. This is a sport they look forward to during practice and they love games, whether they win or lose,” said Souderton Head Coach Cathy Ragusa.

The final match consisted of great performances by athlete Michael Twiname and partner Robert Weiss. After Weiss hit Souderton’s ball, North Penn had a lead 3-1 by the third frame. Twiname came back with a good final roll to help North Penn win in the sixth frame 4-3.

“Next week, a big thing we need to work on is still communication. Sometimes we shouldn’t be communicating, we just have to let the person roll, and I think some people are doing that. That isn’t a bad thing though because I know they all just want to help each other out. But for next week communication will be what we work on,” remarked Coach Panaski.

Next week North Penn will be traveling to Souderton for the county championships, hoping to qualify for states.