Last year, the first look most people got of Division bowling was on the leader board at the county finals. The defending county champions and former underdogs don't have the benefit of anonymity this time around, and that's absolutely fine with them.
"It's a little bit more pressure because people now expect you to do well," coach Brian Maloney said. "People expect things out of you and you push yourself, and that's how Brandon feels."
Brandon is Brandon Soedarmasto, and it suffices to say that he and Division have risen to the challenge. This week, the Blue Dragons clinched the Nassau Conference VI title for the first time in program history. Soedarmasto, who is first in the county in average with a 236, bowled his second 300 of the season during that match, a sweep over Wantagh Friday. Chris Reilly shot a 279 in Game 1, and had series of 742 and 743 in the two matches before that.
"The kid is just in the zone," Maloney said of Soedarmasto. "He's competing right now for that top spot . . . and Brandon is a motivated kid. He can carry hit team . . . He's definitely got more control this season and he seems to have much more command."
The same could be said of Division bowling as a whole. The Blue Dragons burst onto the scene as a long shot in 2013, but, going into last week, have ascended to fourth in the county in average. They'll be a major target at the Nassau Tournament, along with stalwarts Hicksville, East Meadow and Sewanhaka.
"Last year, we got hot and people started talking about Division and just knowing we were there," Maloney said. Thanks to this season's efforts, that talking hasn't stopped.