Saturday Efforts Come Up Short

Vanderbilt is the No. 6 seed heading into the final day

by Rod Williamson

SMYRNA, Tenn. — Vanderbilt never could get five bowlers firing on all cylinders Saturday and qualified with a disappointing sixth seed in its own Music City Classic. The Commodores will square off with five-seeded Arkansas State Sunday in bracket play but failing to qualify among the top four eliminates them from any chance of winning their own event.

“We started slow again and got better as the day went along,” head coach John Williamson said, noting an all too familiar script.  “I didn’t feel like we were ready to play at the start and the first two games were kinda ‘meh,’” referring to sub-1,000-pin efforts in losing to North Carolina A&T and Youngstown State.

“We have gotten into a habit of starting slow and getting better as the day progresses,” Williamson continued. “Sometimes that’s ok but it wasn’t good enough this weekend. It’s alarming because postseason isn’t going to allow us to do that, so we have to figure out a way to start better.”

After the opening losses with traditional game pin counts of 997 and 950 the Commodores rallied to top Louisiana Tech, Prairie View A&M and Carthage—all with scores over 1,000—but by then catching the top four leaders was unlikely.

Jacksonville State meets Youngstown State and North Carolina A&T meets Sam Houston in the championship bracket.

Once again, the Commodores tried multiple lineups and rotations, hoping to find one that would ignite. Vandy had a high game of 1,057 in the finale against Carthage with Haley Lindley’s 243 and Kailee Channell close behind at 233 leading the way.

Bright spots would include Paige Peters, bowling in the leadoff role, who finished 10th individually with a 217.60 average over the five games. Lindley was 12th and Channell continued her steady performances by finishing 14th.

Kirsten Moore of Youngstown State was the individual champion with a 234 average.

After the play ended for the day, Vanderbilt honored long-time head coaches Glenn White of Prairie View A&M and Leann Sullivan of Wisconsin-Whitewater, both of whom are retiring at the end of this season.

The tournament concludes Sunday with play beginning at 9 a.m.  Vanderbilt’s matches are livestreamed on YouTube.