KENOSHA, Wisc. — The nation’s preseason top four teams showed up for the first time this season at the SFA LadyJack and the tournament leaderboard quickly reflected that as McKendree, Vanderbilt, Nebraska and Arkansas State bolted to the forefront of this 16 team field in that order.
The Commodores were impressive in going 4-1 in 5-Game Baker sets during the day including wins over No. 11 Duquesne, No. 3 Arkansas State and a highly entertaining match with seventh-ranked Youngstown State that resulted in the day’s only defeat.
Vandy’s 206.1 average trailed McKendree by 96 pins heading into Saturday’s team game play.
“I thought it was one of our better Fridays,” Vanderbilt head coach John Williamson said. “We competed really well and made some big shots. Our pin count was hampered a little by one or two flat games but otherwise we did a decent job.
“I thought everyone had their moments. Paige (Peters) was really good again – just two opens and they were splits – and Angelica (Anthony) was good after she settled down. We made a few substitutions when it looked like the day might turn into a strike competition.”
The Dores actually started their day in a sluggish mode, falling behind Duquesne by 63 pins after two Bakers. But a rotation of Anthony, Jennifer Loredo, Samantha Gainor, Peters and Mabel Cummins started stringing strikes and Vandy was able to overtake the Dukes in the final game to win 985-957.
The Commodores stayed crisp against Southland rival Arkansas State, pounding the zone for strikes and creating easy spare opportunities. There were just two missed makeable spares in the 50 frames and no other opens as Vandy cruised by 107 pins, 1,088-981.
Vanderbilt’s competitor card included matches with Carthage and Marian universities and while both opponents compiled solid pin tallies, Vandy notched convincing wins.
The finale with Youngstown proved to be one of the season’s most exciting and best played matches. Vanderbilt, now using a lineup of Anthony, Angelique Dalesandro, Caroline Thesier, Peters and Cummins began with a 19-pin win but the Penquins defied their nickname and scorched the Sheridan Lanes with scores of 246-235-210 and 225.
Vanderbilt did not go gently into the cool Wisconsin afternoon, matching strikes and countering with closing scores of 204-231 and 234 as the fans of both teams shouted their approval.
Vandy was down 44 pins heading into the fifth game and gave its faithful hope when it started with the front five. But Youngstown State super senior anchor Emma Dockery was probably the difference, living in the pocket and compiling a terrific percentage of bulls-eyes.
Play reconvenes at 9:30 a.m. Saturday streamed live on the Vanderbilt Athletics YouTube site.