MILLSBORO, Del. — Vanderbilt used a powerful rally to overcome a chilly start and leads the 18-team field after the first day of Maryland-Eastern Shore’s Hawk Classic.
Delaware State is in second and North Carolina A&T third.
The Commodores won their last four matches after struggling in their opener against the seventh-ranked Aggies of A&T. Vandy topped Delaware State, UMES, Morgan State and Monmouth, respectively, winning the last matchup with an impressive 1,125 five-game Baker that was the highest score in the tournament.
On a day when the leaders were posting scores in the mid to upper 900s, that 1,125 game was a monster. Contrast that with Vandy’s opening games of 824 and 872 when it was in 13th position after the first match.
“We started making better shots,” Vanderbilt head coach John Williamson said in explaining the Commodore turnaround. “The shot was difficult, especially on the high end of the house where we played our first three games. We compounded it by not making good shots but the girls composed themselves and momentum turned in our favor.”
The worm began to turn midway in the third match against the host UMES team when Paige Peters regained her patented touch in the anchor’s role. That seemed to ignite a rotation of Mabel Cummins, Victoria Varano, Alyssa Ballard and Caroline Thesier.
Up to that point, the steady Cummins had pretty much been the team’s frame filler.
“I actually thought Paige was pretty good from the start even if her results didn’t exactly show it,” Vandy associate head coach Josie Barnes said. “She made some quality spare pickups. As the day wore on she was able to repeat shots. Everyone in the lineup did their part at times. Caroline, for instance, averaged over 200 for the day and that might not have been obvious to everyone.”
After beating Morgan State in the fourth match, Vanderbilt had climbed into ninth, but was lurking just 68 pins out of third.
Action resumes at the Millsboro Lanes at 8:55 a.m. CT Saturday. Most matches are being livestreamed on bowltv.com while the Vanderbilt Athletic YouTube channel will pick up any match not covered on bowltv.