April 14, 2011
TAYLOR, Mich. – Vanderbilt came into the seeding day of the NCAA Bowling Tournament with a plan and after nearly 10 hours of competition, it left Skore Lanes feeling as if it had accomplished its primary goal.
The Commodores won three of seven games but still grabbed the fourth seed and plays No. 5 seed Central Missouri to open play tomorrow.
The Commodores played all 10 of its squad members and used a different line-up in every game during the long day. They closed with back-to-back wins after dropping a series of hard-fought games earlier.
“I thought it was important for us to get everyone on the lanes,” Coach John Williamson said. “We wanted to have everyone get the opportunity to compete and we especially wanted to leave feeling confident. I think that was accomplished.”
As an example of duties were shared, sophomore Lauren Rhein and senior Ellen Morrison were keys in the late day run. Rhein had a 203 in her only action, the win over Kutztown while Morrison was in the lineup against both Arkansas State and Kutztown.
“I had eight throws to warm-up but I was ready to go,” said Rhein, the popular team captain. “From my standpoint I had terrific support from Samantha (Hesley) and Brittni (Hamilton)as they helped get me relaxed. It’s a lot easier with a good support system out there.
“Our goal today was to leave satisfied and confident,” Rhein continued, “and we ended the day on a positive note. All of our games were close, it’s just a matter of executing. Our last win (Kutztown) was close but I think we gain more from a close win than an easier game.”
The long day produced numerous swings, both team and individual.
Hamilton began the day was a sizzling 246 and she was her stellar self in several lineup spots until midway in the day when she was struck by a rash of splits as she struggled to figure out the changing lane conditions. The All-American ended her day with a spiffy 222.
Kayla Rhoades and Jessica Earnest were also strong, Earnest averaging 208 and Rhoades 201.2 in six games. Sophomore regular Sarah O’Brien was lightly used since she is facing hip surgery next month; still she averaged 208 in her two games.
“Today was about staying loose and having fun,” Earnest said. “Tomorrow we’ll have a little different mindset. For me, my first set was better than the second but I started throwing better toward the end. I thought Lauren did very well coming in with little warm-up and giving us a big boost when we needed one.”
Complete tournament results along with the championship bracket can be found on the official tourney web site, detroittitans.com/2011ncaabowling.
All of Friday’s action will be live streamed in high definition on ncaa.com.
1. Fairleigh Dickinson
3. Maryland-Eastern Shore
5. Central Missouri
6. Arkansas State
7. Sam Houston State
Day One Game Briefs:
Sam Houston State 958, VU 946
The Commodores nursed a small lead through most of the match, powered in large part by Jessica Earnest and Brittni Hamilton in the four and anchor slots. Those familiar with the team’s normal lineup and rotation will notice this one is unique in several ways. The match turned in the late frames with the ‘Dores suffering several costly opens and Sam Houston closing strong. Ten open frames hurt the VU chances.
VU 972, Central Missouri 932
Vanderbilt once again started out quickly and this time was able to maintain control wire-to-wire. The Jennies were unable to keep the momentum of their energized Game 1 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore while Earnest and Kayla Rhoades both cracked the 200 plateau.
Nebraska 1,022 VU 999
The Commodores shuffled their lineup for the third straight day (according to plan). They took another early lead behind lineup newcomer Kim Carper and Kayla Rhoades but the Huskers rallied in the last couple of frames behind their anchor’s 258 effort. The match wasn’t decided until the anchors were done in the tenth. Rhoades had a 224 against her old teammates while Earnest led the ‘Dores at 228.
Fairleigh Dickinson 1,039, VU 1,031
Another game, another rotation. Samantha Hesley was bumped into the third spot in the new look and she responded wonderfully with a team-high 238. It was another white knuckler that came down to the last frame. The No. 1 rated Knights got a huge boost from All-American Tracy Ganjoin, who recovered from a subpar 169 game to throw a 279 at the Commodores. Vanderbilt had been doing a good job with its spare conversions but as in any close game, a couple miscues were costly. Earnest kept her torrid pace with a 226 and Hamilton added a 200 as the team’s total would be good enough to win a lot of games.
Maryland-Eastern Shore 1,029, VU 1,000
The Commodores trailed in this game but kept within striking distance at all times. O’Brien’s steady 236 from the lead-off stop was significant.
VU 987, Arkansas State 900
VU 957, Kutztown 918
Vanderbilt had the edge the entire game, although three opens in the tenth made things stickier than it would have preferred. Hamilton rebounded nicely with her 222 and Rhein’s 203 off the “bench” was critical. The game lineup was VU’s seventh in seven games with all 10 of its players seeing at least one full game of competition.