Dores in Sixth After Opening Day

by Rod Williamson

CROYDON, Pa. —Vanderbilt bore little resemblance to the confident team that won last week’s Stormin’ Blue & Gray Vegas Classic and went undefeated, losing three of its first four games before perhaps unlocking the mystery of the Bristol Pike Lanes with a day-ending victory at the Northeast Invitational Friday.

Vanderbilt dropped games to unranked Saint Francis College, 17th-rated Fairleigh Dickinson and No. 19 Sacred Heart while managing to down Adelphi and 14th-ranked Delaware State.

Vandy is in sixth place – just 55 pins out of third – in a low-scoring field of 26 heading into Saturday’s traditional team matches. Sam Houston was the Friday leader with McKendree second.

The Commodores, who came into the tournament with momentum, seemingly tried everything to little or no avail – changing lineups, rotation order, equipment and approach angles searching for answers. The only consistent result most of the day was production-killing splits and open frames until closing by thrashing Delaware State 1,044-893.

“The shot was hard but we didn’t help ourselves with poor shot-making,” Vanderbilt head coach John Williamson said. “When we missed, we got punished. Last week we had room to miss and here there is less room, which produces tight, tense swings. There are a lot of variables on this pattern and that creates tension. We know what we need to do and we showed we can do it but we have to get in the mindset we can get it done.”

The day got off on a bad foot with Vandy being upset by Saint Francis College when it could only muster 919 pins in a 5-Game Baker set. That would have been enough to win the second match with FDU, but a frustrating 134 in the fifth game of that match virtually handed the win to the Knights.

The Commodores rebounded slightly with 1,008 pins against Adelphi, only to regress against co-host Sacred Heart.

“I thought we hard turned the corner during the Adelphi match but we came back and weren’t executing against Sacred Heart,” Williamson noted.

The rotation that finally seemed to settle things down near day’s end was Adel Wahner, Angelique Dalesandro, Samantha Gainor, Mabel Cummins and Maria Bulanova. That is the same quintet that bowled nearly every frame last week although in a slightly different order.

“I thought (Gainor) bowled well and (Cummins) had her moments,” Williamson said. “We probably didn’t do (Gainor) any favors putting her in the anchor spot for awhile but she is a selfless, talented competitor willing to do anything for the team.”

Play gets underway at 8:25 a.m. CT Saturday and is being live streamed on Vanderbilt’s bowling YouTube page.