Furious rally fuels bowlers

Jan. 13, 2012

JONESBORO, Ark. – Vanderbilt staged a thrilling rally in the fifth and final game of a five-hour day to edge fifth-rated Sam Houston State and conclude Day One of the Mid-Winter Classic with four victories against a single setback.

The Commodores appeared to have a hard time getting their high octane attack in gear throughout much of the afternoon and trailed Sam Houston by 37 pins after four of the five Baker games. With prospects appearing dim against the steady Bearkats, Vanderbilt put the hammer down with a strike barrage that concluded with anchor Samantha Hesley doubling in the tenth to lock up the hard-fought win.

The Commodores finished that pivotal game with five strikes in a row from the fourth through eighth frames, then Jessica Earnest converted a tough 3-6-9-10 spare in the ninth before Hesley’s heroics guaranteed victory.

The 16-team field was stacked up by total pin fall with host Arkansas State on top, followed by Central Missouri, Vanderbilt and Nebraska.

Prior to its grand finish, the Black and Gold had beaten Elmhurst, Maryland-Eastern Shore and Louisiana Tech, dropping the day’s third game against Alabama-Birmingham with a lackluster performance.

“That last game was a good one to close on,” said Coach John Williamson. “Otherwise I was pretty frustrated much of the afternoon. For some reason Fridays are hard for us to concentrate. Our energy picked up in the UMES game but we completely zoned out against UAB and until the last game of the Sam Houston match we were just out there. I can understand a bad game but we simply can’t allow big gaps of mediocrity. We can’t be AWOL for an hour.”

Williamson brought his entire team to this tournament, dressed nine and used every one during the grueling afternoon. The lineup during the big rally was Brittni Hamilton, freshmen lefties Rebeca Reguero and Natalie Goodman, Earnest and Hesley.

He singled out two freshmen – Nicole Mosesso and Goodman – after the lanes had silenced.

“I thought Nicole did a real good job, probably her best performance of the season,” Williamson noted. “She still has that sore back and we had to take her out late. I was very pleased with Natalie Goodman for coming off the bench in that last game and immediately contributing.”

The tournament continues tomorrow with team games starting at 9:40 a.m.

“We are going to come back tomorrow with some energy and do a better job of competing,” Williamson said.

Leaderboard (16 teams)

Arkansas State 5,077
Central Missouri 4,806
Vanderbilt 4,791
Nebraska 4,762

VU 952 Elmhurst 804

VU 190-185
VU 174-159
VU 177-163
VU 221-115
VU 190-182

VU 1,041 UMES 883

VU 196-178
VU 256-127
MES 183-180
VU 223-203
MES 192-177

UAB 842 VU 812

UAB 198-166
VU 188-171
VU 170-123
UAB 198-149
UAB 152-139

VU 1,001 Louisiana Tech 820

LT 184-182
VU 224-214
VU 258-157
VU 162-100
LT 177-173

VU 985 Sam Houston State 977

VU 189-180
SH 200-181
SH 209-189
SH 188-182
VU 244-200