KENOSHA, Wisc. — Vanderbilt punched its ticket into Sunday’s championship bracket with a steady if not spectacular performance that left it third after the two days of qualifying at Stephen F. Austin’s Ladyjack Classic.
The Commodores will play fourth-seeded Arkansas State in the opening round of the title bracket with McKendree meeting Nebraska in the 1-versus-2 pairing. Vandy won two of its four matches Saturday, downing No. 21 Wisconsin-Whitewater and Valparaiso while losing a high-scoring match with McKendree and a close one with Maryville.
A scheduled fifth game was scrubbed when Upper Iowa was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to injuries.
“Today was like work,” Vanderbilt head coach John Williamson. “Yesterday seemed to fly by but today we had to earn the pins we got. We weren’t making our spares today, 20 missed-makeables. If we make even half of those, everything is easier.”
The matches against McKendree always have an NCAA tournament feel to them and Saturday’s contest was no different. What was out of the ordinary is that Vandy entered the match after encountering the forfeit. While it bowled for pin count, most coaches will tell you that situation leaves a team with an odd vibe as a team tends to come into its next match with no momentum.
“We started the day with that bye and we just never got into it,” Williamson said. “We weren’t sharp from the beginning. I did think Angelique (Dalesandro) did a real nice job for the most part. Every time we ask her to do something she gives us a solid, consistent effort. And I thought Paige (Peters) had her moments but she wasn’t quite as good as (Friday).”
Vanderbilt used a familiar rotation of Angelica Anthony, Samantha Gainor, Dalesandro, Peters and Mabel Cummins. The final score 1,131 – 1,068 indicated the high level of play with the difference likely being that Vandy made a few more mistakes than the Bearcats.
Gainor led the way for the Dores with a clean 236 while Anthony overcame a split to roll a 230.
Vandy notched easy wins over Whitewater and Valparaiso but lost by 16 pins to No. 15 Maryville, unable to get all five of its order going despite Peters’ flashy 245.
Kailee Channell saw her first extended playing time late in the day. The two-time Tennessee state bowler of the year was inserted into the second spot of the rotation and showed some typical rookie nerves in the process.
“Normally Kailee is one of our better spare shooters,” Williamson said, “and we were having problems filling frames so I thought it was a good time to give her a shot in the order.”
The fourth-ranked Commodores now have a season record of 27-8. Play begins at 8:30 a.m. Sunday and will streamed live on Vanderbilt Athletics YouTube.