'Dores enjoy the Holiday

Feb. 26, 2011

BESSEMER, Ala. – Vanderbilt’s bowling team defeated three Top 10 rated teams while cruising to an unbeaten day and the lead at the Holiday Classic.

And nobody enjoyed the Holiday more than All-American Brittni Hamilton, who won her first collegiate tournament of the year and second of her career with a sterling exhibition of consistency. Hamilton started her day with a 221 effort, then saw the wheels come off briefly by starting the second game with three opens in a row before getting zoned in.

“That second game, strangely enough, was when I started getting comfortable and I stayed that way the rest of the day,” Hamilton said. “This is a shorter pattern and one of my favorites.”

By the time the Webster, New Yorker was finished, she was making it look way too easy, averaging 221 over the five games when only three others in the field could average 200. She topped host Alabama A & M’s Addileen Pointer by 24 pins.

It was an important day for Vanderbilt and it worked out well with the quintet of victories to go with its four yesterday.

The Commodores took down third-rated Central Missouri, fourth-ranked Nebraska and No. 10 Sam Houston State en route to its perfect day. They have won nine of 10 matches on the Holiday Lanes heading into Sunday’s championship Baker brackets.

“We had a good team effort today,” Hamilton said. “I was really impressed with Jessica (Earnest); she had some big games when we needed them.”

Coach John Williamson was certainly happy to run the table but acknowledged there is considerable room for improvement.

“We had a good day and caught some breaks but we still had way too many mistakes,” he said. “We did a good job of making things work. I thought Amanda Halter came in big and Sarah (O’Brien) was pretty steady.”

Vanderbilt won a nail-biter to jump start its day, thanks in large part to Samantha Hesley’s strong 10th frame anchor and a bit of bowling fortune. Hesley had strikes in the eighth and ninth, then hit two more in the 10th to apply pressure to Central Missouri, which had nursed a small lead throughout the game. Central’s anchor was not able to convert a spare attempt and the ‘Dores were off and running. Hamilton’s lead-off 221 didn’t hurt the cause, either. After an open in the first, she ripped off five strikes in a row, then struck out in the 10th.

“That first game was big for a lot of reasons,” Williamson said. “We have been starting slow lately so to get going on a positive note gave us some confidence.”

After defeating Southern in the second game, Vanderbilt faced the Cornhuskers and led virtually wire-to-wire in winning handily. Except for an erratic fifth, in which the ‘Dores suffered three opens, the unit was solid in spare conversions and balanced with Hamilton’s 210 leading the way. The shorter oil pattern tended to keep most teams from stringing lots of strikes.

Sam Houston State was next up and once again, Vanderbilt jumped to the lead and never let matters get out of hand. Hamilton’s 244 was powered by five strikes in a row at one point. Amanda Halter entered the action, relieving Kim Carper in the fifth and contributed significantly in helping generate a 190.

In the tournament round-robin, VU topped Florida A & M in the day’s final game. Sunday’s best-of-four Bakers are match play so the good works of this day only matter in the seeding.

Tomorrow begins with the last round-robin game against Alabama State before the championship bracket begins. Complete tournament results can be found on http://mccorveyproshop.com/holiday/.

VU 950 Central Missouri 943

Brittni Hamilton 221
Kayla Rhoades 164
Sarah O’Brien 170
Jessica Earnest 172
Samantha Hesley 223

VU 919 Southern 802

Hamilton 185
Kim Carper 189
O’Brien 176
Earnest 225
Hesley 144

VU 949 Nebraska 865

Hamilton 210
Carper 168
O’Brien 182
Earnest 200
Hesley 188

VU 988 Sam Houston State 893

Hamilton 244
Carper/Amanda Halter 190
O’Brien 196
Earnest 180
Hesley 178

VU 989 Florida A & M 900

Hamilton 245
Halter 172
Ellen Morrison 111
Earnest 224
Hesley 237