Sixth-Place Start in Las Vegas

Vanderbilt won three matches on Day 1

by Rod Williamson

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Vanderbilt perked up after a slow start and finished Day 1 of the Stormin’ Blue & White Vegas Classic in sixth place, 225 of pins behind front-running Jacksonville State.

Vandy defeated Oklahoma Christian, ninth-ranked Duquesne and St. Anslem while falling to host Mount St. Mary’s. A fifth scheduled match was scrubbed when an eastern snowstorm prevented Merrimack from reaching Las Vegas.  The Dores ended their day with back-to-back 1,000-plus pin efforts.

It was Vanderbilt’s first trip back to the South Point Bowling Center since winning the national championship there last April. But on a different oil pattern, the results were starkly different.

Vanderbilt spent much of the day searching for a crisp unit, shuffling bowlers in and out and in some instances, moving them into different spots in the order. The second-ranked Commodores appeared listless in the five-game Baker sets and head coach John Williamson agreed.

“I didn’t think we had a good performance,” Williamson said. “Our spare shooting was suspect and so was our energy level. At times we seemed like we weren’t interested in being there; we bowled like it was our first day in two months and in a sense, it was.”

“We had five bowlers that had competed in the U.S. Trials, and you could understand they were long days, but we weren’t the only team here that had kids in the trials,” he continued. “We should be better than this.”

Vanderbilt plays No. 10 Maryville Tuesday at 11:55 a.m. CST to begin five traditional team games. The event is streamed by BowlTV.