Bowlers two pins shy of title

March 16, 2008

Final team standings

SMYRNA, Tenn. — Two days of bowling and 12 hard-fought games came down to the final frame at the Columbia 300 Music City Classic Sunday afternoon. When the dust had settled and over 10,000 pins had fallen, Central Missouri State edged Vanderbilt by a mere two pins for the team championship.

The Commodores had bowled well throughout the two days and had taken a pin count lead and unbeaten 11-0 record into the day’s final game with Central Missouri. However, the Jennies recorded an amazing 290 in the first of four Baker games to seize the lead with three games to play. From there it was a see-saw battle up through the final ball.

“We were trying to make clean and consistent shots,” said winning coach Ron Holmes. “We wanted to play our game and use the momentum to push us on. We had not been consistent yesterday or earlier today but that first game set the tone and helped us relax.”

The narrow loss took some of the luster off sparkling performances by Vanderbilt’s Josie Earnest and Tara Kane, who made the all-tournament team. Earnest finished second to Vicki Spratford of New Jersey City with a 199.5 average while Kane was fourth at 196.6. Earnest’s 269 Saturday was the high game of the tourney.

“We bowled well both days,” said Vanderbilt coach John Williamson. “We ran into a buzz saw that first Baker game with Central and they won it, we didn’t lose it. My hat is off to them. I was proud of how we fought hard that entire game and posted scores good enough to win.

“Anytime you have a pin count format and somebody has a monster game it becomes a huge factor. But I’m very proud of my team. We learned a few lessons that will help us moving forward. There is always a tendency to focus on the last play of a game but you can’t look at it that way. We had plenty of chances to get an extra pin here or there during our 12 games.”

Vanderbilt had trailed New Jersey City University heading into today’s play and took the tournament lead in the day’s third game when it downed NJCU by 69 pins.

Williamson had told his team earlier in the week that he would do his best to get each of the 10 Commodores into competition sometime during the tournament and he delivered on his word Sunday.

“This is a hard working group of young women and I wanted every one of them to have the chance to bowl at least one frame. They earned that opportunity.”

New Jersey City, which put three women on the all-tournament team, placed third with Alabama A & M fourth and Arkansas State fifth in the 21-team field.

Vanderbilt closes its regular season with a 77-25 record and now sets it sights on repeating as NCAA champion at the national championship, coming in three weeks in Omaha.

All-Tournament Team:

Vicki Spratford*, NJC 205.6 average 12 games

Josie Earnest, VU, 199.5

Candice D’Angelo, NJC, 198.1

Tara Kane, VU, 196.6

Nicole Drejerwski, NJC, 193.4

*Voted by coaches as Most Valuable Player

High Game Award:

Josie Earnest, Vanderbilt, 269

Vanderbilt’s Sunday Baker Results:

VU 714 North Carolina Central 614

VU 189-105

VU 194-170

VU 166-155

NCC 173-165

VU 734 Norfolk State 574

VU 148-130

VU 196-137

VU 232-155

VU 158-152

VU 757 New Jersey City 688

VU 232-152

NJC 211-164

VU 191-179

VU 170-156

VU 717 Hampton 577

VU 188-145

HU 170-166

VU 201-133

VU 162-129

VU 748 Sacred Heart 739

VU 213-178

SH 214-167

SH 201-172

VU 196-146

Central Missouri 857 VU 805

CM 290-192

VU 175-163

VU 227-180

CM 224-211