LIMERICK, PA—The City of Brotherly Love more or less gave the Vanderbilt bowling team the cold shoulder and as a result, the Commodores will play the role of bridesmaid in Sunday’s championship bracket of the Kutztown Invitational.
In winning three of five traditional matches Saturday, Vanderbilt didn’t bowl badly. It’s just that they could never get humming on all cylinders and the resulting mediocre pin fall left the Commodores in sixth place among the 28 teams. And that means that the absolute best Vandy can finish Sunday is third in the collegiate bracket format.
“We couldn’t strike,” was Coach John Williamson’s assessment. “We had just nine missed-makeables today which is normally excellent…not a missed single pin. We have been emphasizing spare shooting so our team will realize that work has paid off but today we needed strikes to get into the title bracket and we just couldn’t get them.”
The one cylinder that was in perfect tune was that of Jordan Newham. The senior from Aurora, Ill., fashioned scores of 193-236-268-234 and 248 for a 235.8 average to finish third individually. The 235.8 represents the fifth-best tournament average in school history; tops on the list is Giselle Poss’ 240.8 average at this tournament two years ago when it was held in Reading, Pa.
“I’m not sure we have ever had a player bowl 50 clean frames in a day,” Williamson said. “She was repeating shots and when she missed – which wasn’t many times – she missed to the right, which made the spare shot easier. Missing left – which is what some others were doing – often meant trouble.”
Vanderbilt had shot spares well during Friday’s opening Baker games and hoped to tighten up its first-ball execution today but it was apparent early that all was not fixed.
The heavily favored Commodores were upset in the first game by 23rd ranked Duquesne, 954-925, and things didn’t improve much in a loss to No. 7 Fairleigh Dickinson, 1,002-961. The Black and Gold surrendered a 48 pin lead midway in the sixth frame in that contest.
Wins over Sacred Heart, Saint Francis College and Morgan State closed the day but didn’t bring the accompanying high pin counts to push Vandy higher in the standings.
Vanderbilt used a variety of lineups again, this time trying to find the right mojo instead of sharing in the riches of victory as happened in its two prior tournaments – both of which produced championships. Aside from Newham, Maria Bulanova was the only Dore close to a 200 average; she tallied 197.4 with help from a latter day rally. Samantha Gainor, who missed Friday’s play with illness, was back in the rotation all day.
Sunday’s Baker play begins at 8:25 a.m. EDT. against fifth-seeded North Carolina A&T.