A Back-And-Forth Day

Commodores win three matches to start Prairie View Invitational

by Rod Williamson

ARLINGTON, Texas — Vanderbilt began the always challenging Prairie View Invitational Friday by winning three of its five Baker matches, putting the Commodores in fourth place in the 12-team field.

The Commodores are 138 pins behind first-place Louisiana Tech.

Vandy defeated Sacred Heart to start its afternoon before losing matches to Fairleigh Dickinson and Nebraska, respectively. But it finished strong with wins over North Carolina A&T and then Youngstown State to end the day.

“Overall I thought it was a pretty good day for us,” Vanderbilt head coach John Williamson said. “I liked the resiliency we showed when we got down early in some of the matches. But we made a few too many mistakes to be placed any higher in this high-quality tournament.

“We will hope we can iron some of those out (Saturday).”

The Nebraska match was the kind one would expect from the third and fifth-ranked teams in the country. Vandy, using a rotation of Mabel Cummins, Angelica Anthony, Samantha Gainor, Caroline Thesier and Paige Peters, started the 5-game Baker set with a 214-201 win before getting smashed in Game 2, 259-169. That result put the Dores in a big hole but they gamely battled back, winning the third game big 255-210 and then chopping and chopping until the last frame.

With the outcome still in doubt, Nebraska All-American Crystal Elliott nailed the strikes that pushed the Huskers to a 1,083-1,074 win.  As the score would indicate, Vanderbilt was solid and helped its cause with a rare 4-7-6-10 spare conversion by Thesier.

Vanderbilt seemed to enjoy playing from behind. In the day’s fourth contest, the Commodores spotted the fourth-ranked Aggies a hefty 57 pin lead after the first Baker, then roared back to within four pins after two games and took a seven pin lead after three games.

A 214-202 victory in the fourth game and would go on to claim a 995-986 win.

The Commodores capped off the day by beating Youngstown State 1,020-925 thanks, in part, to a 234 in the second game of that match.

Play continues at 9:25 a.m. Saturday with five team games. The action is streamed live on bowltv.com.