GREENSBORO, N.C. — For most of Friday, Vanderbilt made it look easier than it probably was as it shot into the lead at the Stallings Invitational.
The Commodores were the only team in the field of 15 to average more than 200, knocking down 210.2 pins over 25 Baker games while second place Mount St. Mary’s averaged 199. Host North Carolina A&T is third and Sam Houston sTATE is fourth.
On the day in which Vandy won 18 of the 20 individual Baker games it played, the Commodores went 3-1 along with a bye round, beating Coppin State, 10th-ranked Mount St. Mary’s and No. 21 Lincoln Memorial while losing a forgettable match to No. 12 Fairleigh Dickinson.
“I thought with one brief exception we played pretty good today,” Vandy head coach John Williamson said. “We made the pattern look easy much of the time and it is not really that easy. It has a high oil volume on an old surface and it forces us to move left as the day progresses. When you do that you can slide past the head pin but we did a good job of getting to the pocket.”
The Commodores played six bowlers all day and Williamson especially liked what he saw with Mabel Cummins leading off and Paige Peters anchoring. There were several rotations – Cummins, Angelica Anthony, Amanda Naujokas, Samantha Gainor and Peters and Cummins, Naujokas, Caroline Thesier, Gainor and Cummins.
The last match Anthony replaced Gainor.
“When games get off to good starts, good things usually happen,” Williamson said, noting that his team began three games with the front six and often closed strong. Vandy had back-to-back monster games of 1,153 and 1,169.
The one blemish on the day came in the fifth game against FDU. The Commodores started the fifth of five Baker games with a commanding 92-pin lead and when the Knights opened in the first frame, the lead slid over 100 pins. Easy win? Nope!
FDU closed the game with nine straight strikes while the Commodores, looking like a basketball team losing momentum against a full-court press, made three poor shots in the last five frames to post its lowest score of the day (156) and lost the match 953-943.
“We just fell asleep,” Williamson said. “It’s getting a little late in the season to have a lack of urgency like that. We did rebound against Lincoln Memorial and hopefully we will learn from that mistake.”
Williamson noted that the team had an abbreviated but efficient practice Thursday at the Triad Lanes because the team’s plane was delayed several hours in Nashville, getting them to the Raleigh-Durham airport much later than planned.
Vanderbilt fans watching the livestream may have noticed the presence of senior Angelique Dalesandro, who had surgery on her broken foot several weeks ago and is working on rehabilitation. She hopes to get her walking boot off in about 10 days and may be 2-3 weeks from returning to the lanes.
Saturday’s play begins at 8:30 a.m. CT. There will be five traditional games, live streamed on the Vanderbilt Athletics YouTube page.