LINCOLN, Neb. — Vanderbilt regained its winning match touch, but slipped from second to fourth place after two days at the Big Red Invite on Saturday.
With one more team game remaining to be played Sunday to set the final bracket, Arkansas State, McKendree, Nebraska and Vanderbilt – the nation’s four top-ranked teams – rest in that order.
The Commodores, who were snake-bit Friday being paired with hot-shooting opposition, won their last three games against Upper Iowa, Quincy and Youngstown State after opening the day with an 1,133 and losing by 21 to Lincoln Memorial’s bullseyes.
“We did some things well, some things average and a few things not so good,” Vanderbilt head coach John Williamson said. “We missed 20 makeable spares today and that’s over 200 pins. In this total pin fall tournament, that’s the difference between having a chance to win and having no chance tomorrow.”
Vandy anchor Mabel Cummins was once again splendid in her role. She pulled out a win against Quincy by closing with six strikes and her opening 266 included 11 strikes (and one open) against Lincoln Memorial.
She is fourth individually with a 228.8 average in this high-scoring shootout that sometimes resembled a pinball game. Arkansas State’s Sarah Sanes leads individuals at 240.8.
Jennifer Loredo assembled games of 246-185-246-236-204 from the left side and is in sixth place with a 223.8 average. Her closing six-bagger against Youngstown helped Vandy keep that game well in hand.
Williamson was pleased with the trio of Loredo, Caroline Thesier and Cummins at the conclusion of the unexpectedly close match with Quincy. Loredo and Thesier doubled in the 10th setting the stage for Cummins’ capstone effort.
“It doesn’t really matter who your opponent is in a situation like that,” Williamson said. “There was pressure to come through and they did.”
The pattern is designed for teams to score big and score they did. At one point in the Lincoln Memorial match, Vanderbilt had 17 strikes in a row, which might seem enough to relax.
However, Vandy was still behind as the Railsplitters had 13 strikes in their first 15 frames. The match became a strike contest. Three straight Vandy splits in the ninth proved fatal.
The day began with Angelica Anthony, Loredo, Angelique Dalesandro, Thesier and Cummins and was later adjusted to add Samantha Gainor (who contributed a flashy 257 off the bench) and give Dalesandro a breather.
“(Friday) the lanes got easier to score as the day progressed,” Williamson said. “Today they seemed to get harder. And a total score of 1,000 wasn’t good enough in these conditions.”
Vanderbilt faces Valparaiso at 8:55 a.m. Sunday to finish the round-robin. At that point the bracket will be set with two more team games (not the usual best-of-seven Bakers) to determine the final finish by total pins.
All Commodore games will be streamed on the Vandy Bowling YouTube channel.