Feb. 11, 2011
DOVER, Del. — Vanderbilt finished the first day Baker games tied for second place at the Capital Classic while breaking in a lineup that it had never before had an opportunity to use. The Commodores trail Fairleigh Dickinson and are all even with Maryland-Eastern Shore heading into Saturday’s team games.
Sarah O’Brien was in the Vanderbilt line-up all day and with the exception of a cameo appearance at last year’s NCAA Tournament, it marked the first time the sophomore has seen collegiate competition. A year ago, the Illinois product was working her way into the lineup and last fall she was sidelined by hip surgery, just getting the green light to bowl last month.
“I thought it was important to get Sarah some experience,” said Head Coach John Williamson. “She did well considering it was really her first time out there. She seemed to have a good look in the warm-ups so we went with her.”
Williamson said that his team had uneven performances but cited Kayla Rhoades and Jessica Earnest for “keeping us afloat” much of the day. All-American Brittni Hamilton, of whom much is always expected, began a bit slow but finished very strong. The Commodores didn’t deviate from their rotation of Hamilton, Rhoades, O’Brien, Earnest and Samantha Hesley.
Earnest said she was so caught up in the team side of the competition that she didn’t notice her overall day.
“We spend a lot of time working as a unit,” the 2010 Rookie of the Year said. “I was impressed with how Sarah did with no prior experience. Her hard work is paying off. There were a few things I noticed and tried to point out as we went along. Overall, our team effort was not what we hoped for and we have already talked about changes we will make so tomorrow is a better day.”
Some single pin spare misses and a low pin count here or there was especially costly in what was ironically the team’s best pin effort of the day, a one-pin loss to host Delaware State. The Black and Gold lost that shootout, 855-854. Vanderbilt went 3-2 for its day, having been upset by Norfolk State in the curtain-raiser before running off three wins.
Team Leader Board
Delaware State 3,827
Vanderbilt’s Friday Results
Norfolk State 779 Vanderbilt 757
Vanderbilt 805 Bethune Cookman 582
Vanderbilt 724 North Carolina A & T 690
Vanderbilt 751 Howard 587
Delaware State 855 Vanderbilt 854