EGG HARBOR, N.J.—Defending tournament champion Vanderbilt plowed through four of its five opponents at Monmouth’s Hawk Flight Invite Friday but lost to one of the two unranked teams it faced. The Commodores lead the field of 18 based on the day’s total pin fall. Vanderbilt has a 92 pin lead on second place Fairleigh Dickinson with Sam Houston State in third.
It felt like a routine day at the office for much of the time as Vanderbilt defeated 11th ranked Saint Francis University, 12th rated Delaware State and 17th ranked Long Island University-Brooklyn along with unranked Morgan State in 5-game Baker format.
And just when an onlooker was thinking the Commodores were flying high on automatic pilot, along came unranked Saint Francis College and led the match almost wire-to-wire, winning by 22 pins in Vandy’s lowest scoring bout of the day.
“I thought we were pretty mediocre today,” said Coach John Williamson. “We turned some 1,050 games into 950’s due to poor shot making. I told the team we are playing for bigger things than leading this tournament. We lost a game by missing two single pins.”
Vanderbilt used its familiar rotation of Jordan Newham, Emily Rigney, Adel Wahner, Sam Gainor and Maria Bulanova from the outset, subbing in Kristin Quah for Rigney about halfway through the six-hour day. Bryanna Leyen came in for Newham in the fourth contest and Vandy had Angelique Dalesandro and Braeden Abrahamsen each see some action in the waning moments of the day’s finale.
“It was great to see Kristin and Bryanna come in off the bench and bowl well,” Williamson said. “Kris is coming back into form and Bryanna hasn’t had a chance to see much playing time. They were good additions today.”
For much of the day, the explosive Commodores broke open relatively close matches with long striking runs. During one three-game stretch with SFU and Morgan State, the Dores went “off the sheet” twice with six in a row and had five straight in the other.
“Those long runs show me what the scoring pace could be,” Williamson says. “Of course you don’t expect runs of five and six all the time but if we execute better perhaps we avoid those 6-count splits that break our momentum.”
Saturday’s five traditional games get underway at 8:30 CT. The competition includes a position round contest with Sam Houston and matches with Top 10 ranked Fairleigh Dickinson, Maryland-Eastern Shore, North Carolina A & T and host Monmouth.