MILLSBORO, Del. — Vanderbilt cruised to an unbeaten day Saturday and finished the bracket qualifying as the No. 2 seed at the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawk Classic.
The Commodores actually ended up in a rare tie for the top seed with Sam Houston State based on total pin fall. The Bearkats got the nod as No. 1 based on the NCAA tiebreaker criteria.
It actually makes little difference as the two Southland Bowling League powerhouses will square off in the opening round of Sunday’s best-of-seven bracket. The higher seed gets choice of lanes should a Baker series be tied 3-3.
The winner gains an automatic berth in the championship match.
Adelphi, No. 12 Sacred Heart, St. Francis College and No. 5 North Carolina A&T proved no match Saturday for Vanderbilt which won each of its matches by well over 100 pins. Vandy drew a bye in the day’s finale to round out its card.
“We had a pretty good rhythm,” Vanderbilt head coach John Williamson said. “We started a little slower this morning but got into a decent groove. Overall I thought we were pretty good today.”
The Commodores used the same rotation in every game, never needing to go to its deep bench. Angelica Anthony, Angelique Dalesandro, Caroline Thesier, Paige Peters and Mabel Cummins began the day with a few hiccups and the lowest pin counts of their day (979 and 939) before heating up to average 1,050 pins over the last three matches.
Much of that heat came from Anthony, the Converse, Texas strike-slinger who bounced back from anemic 169 and 158 efforts to sizzle at 234-265 and 228, a 242 average. She ended up eighth individually despite the slow start.
“We played the lanes a little differently today than (Friday) with her and people have to see the shape they need,” Williamson explained. “It just took her some time to get comfortable and then she was pretty good.”
Peters was steady as a rock, bowling nothing like a rookie with a 212 average for the day and no score over 225. She was seventh individually.
“Paige was really consistent,” Williamson said. “She is experienced and very mature from a bowling standpoint. She understands what needs to happen and if she throws a poor shot she doesn’t carry it to the next frame. She is very good at repeating shots so it’s easy to make adjustments with her. She plugged along pretty good today.”
Vanderbilt’s Saturday marquee matchup according to rankings was the North Carolina A&T dual. The Aggies had beaten Vandy earlier this fall at Tulane’s Colonial Classic so this one looked to be interesting.
However, Anthony took away much of the suspense with her 265, a flashy leadoff score that included just two spares. Peters added a 225 and the team had just one missed-makeable spare as the Dores coasted to an easy win 1,053-901.
Williamson said, “the last three games we threw a lot of strikes and didn’t shoot many spares but with the ones we did, we only had one or two missed make-ables. From an execution standpoint we were better today.”
It is unusual to have a leaderboard tie in pin fall after 10,000-plus pins.
“It’s happened to us one other time,” the veteran coach recalled. “Back in 2011 we tied with Maryland-Eastern Shore at a tournament but after 10 games and thousands of pins it’s very rare.”
Sunday’s play begins at 7:30 a.m. CT from the Millsboro Lanes.