READING, PA---Vanderbilt survived a ghastly start with four consecutive victories and finished the second day of the Kutztown Invitational in second place, the same spot it began the day.
The Commodores will play top-seeded McKendree to open Sunday's bracket play after both teams notched 9-1 won-loss records. Vanderbilt topped McKendree at this tournament last year in winning the championship. Tulane snagged the No. 3 seed and Sam Houston got the fourth spot to make the title bracket in the 28-team field.
A quick day's recap shows Vandy losing its opening game to unranked Franklin Pierce before recovering to defeat sixth-ranked Delaware State, 12th ranked Sacred Heart, host Kutztown and Duquesne.
"The opening pair (of lanes) didn't play like the others and we didn't do a good job adjusting or making quality shots," Coach John Williamson observed. "We did a decent job of grinding it out after that and made the day acceptable but I thought part of our team stayed stuck in the bad after-taste of that first game."
Unlike many events where one or two Vanderbilt individuals are at or near the top of the standings, Kristin Quah's 10th place finish with a 219.20 average was the best anyone in Black and Gold could muster. Quah had a 268 against Sacred Heart for her best 10 frames.
The Commodores played their entire travel squad looking for a consistent spark and never really clicked. Freshman Kelsey Abrahamsen got into the lineup with two games left and responded favorably with a 204 against Kutztown and 224 versus Duquesne. Emily Rigney had a helpful 234 in the big win over Delaware State. For others, it just wasn't their day.
The Commodores stumbled out of the starting gate, stuck on what high-end bowlers call "a bad pair," the term for two lanes that don't match the other lanes in a facility and consequently produce substandard scores. The 822 pins Vandy knocked down were about 200 less than its average over nine other games.
It was mostly sunshine and rainbows after that early storm. The Commodore defeated an excellent Delaware State team, 1,092-1,083, in one of the highest quality games of its season. Vandy had to weather the DSU anchor's 10th frame; she went strike-9-spare allowing VU a narrow win.
The `Dores followed up that encouraging victory with another high-wire "w", defeating Sacred Heart by nine pins, 1,045-1,036, getting a big lift from Quah's 268.
Vandy rang up identical 996 totals in the closing wins over Kutztown and Duquesne.
Play begins Sunday at 8:30 a.m., livestreamed on YouTube. Viewers will notice the quality of the stream varies greatly depending upon where the camera is stationed in relation to the WIFI signal in the facility.