Jan. 19, 2008
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Vanderbilt had a wild roller-coaster ride over the Sunshine Lanes of the Greater Ozark Invitational Saturday. When the dust had settled, the Commodore bowlers were leading the tightly bunched field by a scant three pins over host Central Missouri heading into Sunday’s finale.
Vanderbilt won three of five team games against NCAA competition and lost a 5-game Baker exhibition to Pikeville, one of the nation’s best club teams.
The Commodores opened with a win over Arkansas State but followed with flat performances against Minnesota State and Southern, which resulted in losses.
They bounced back strong in the last two NCAA games of the day, topping fourth-ranked Central Missouri and beating No. 1 Nebraska.
“I was really pleased with the heart and character we showed in finishing strong after we lost those early games,” said Coach John Williamson. “We missed way too many spares all afternoon or else we probably would have a bigger lead and we didn’t adjust quickly enough when the lane conditions changed earlier in the day.”
Vanderbilt got a huge boost from sophomore reserve Ashley Belden (202 avg), who finds herself in second place individually behind Nebraska’s Katie Ann Sopp (204 avg).
“We subbed Ashley late in the second game and she was terrific,” Williamson said. “She really ignited us. Against Central Missouri she led off with five straight strikes and that, in turn, sparked Tara Kane, who struck seven of her first eight frames. This was the Taka Kane of old and she was great to watch.”
In that CMS game, Vanderbilt recorded 1,088 pins with Kane leading the way with 247, Belden at 235 and anchor Josie Earnest at 224. The Jennies had beaten Vandy on Friday in a similar fashion, entering the contest on a losing skid.
The showdown between the nation’s top two teams was close with VU winning 993-955. Michelle Peloquin led the way with a 225 and Belden added a helpful 213 as the lead-off bowler.
Peloquin is fourth in individual NCAA standings with a 201.6 average while Kane is 11th and Earnest 12th.
The tournament concludes tomorrow with two more team games, one more cross-over game with a club program before the field is bracketed for the finals.
Top Three Teams
Vanderbilt’s Saturday Action
Vanderbilt 989 Arkansas State 889
Ellen Morrison 183
Karen Grygiel 223
Minnesota State 933 Vanderbilt 883
Southern 995 Vanderbilt 923
Vanderbilt 1,088 Central Missouri 967
Vanderbilt 993 Nebraska 955
Non-NCAA Counting Exhibition with Pikeville
P 235 – V 191
P 196 – V 163
V 227 – P 214
P 182 – V160
V 211 – P175