ORLANDO, Fla. — Vanderbilt’s visit to the hometown of the Magic Kingdom turned into Goofy’s abduction into the Tower of Terror, with the Commodores losing all three of their matches and finishing fourth at the Sunshine State Classic on Sunday.
Vanderbilt had seemingly entered Sunday’s best-of-seven Baker games with the confidence of a program that has performed at a high level since before the winter break, but it lost 12 straight games after opening the morning with a victory.
Longtime observers, which included Vanderbilt head coach John Williamson, could not recall a similarly inept Sunday since the program began in 2004-05, when the Commodores were using club team members during their transition to varsity play.
“We were not very good today,” a disappointed Williamson said a couple hours afterwards, “and that is an understatement. The difference between our play Friday and today was profound and it’s hard to understand why. There was no part of our game that was adequate.”
Vanderbilt began the day as the No. 2 seed, playing top-seeded Nebraska for a berth in the title game. In winning the first Baker game, 235-181, the Dores had two sets of four strikes in a row and looked to be off and running.
However, Vandy followed with games of 163-148-168 and 158 to get clobbered by the Huskers. Then came a 4-0 whitewash from red-hot Stephen F. Austin, who went an impressive 13-0 over three days and won the Sunshine championship.
The frustrated Commodores then faced Sacred Heart in a match to determine third place. The Pioneers had bowled well against Vanderbilt in a win Friday, so Black and Gold faithful were hoping some revenge in the rematch would end the day on an upswing. Yet Sacred Heart swept the Commodores, although Vanderbilt had picked up its play a bit and most games were close. It seemed as though Vandy did just enough to be competitive without accomplishing the goal of winning.
Maria Bulanova and Adel Wahner were named to the all-tournament team based upon their solid play in Saturday’s traditional games. Bulanova, the MVP a week ago at Prairie View, was second in this event, while Wahner finished fourth.
The Commodores have another short week to get wrinkles ironed out before leaving Thursday for the Stephen F. Austin LadyJack tournament in Dallas.