READING, Pa. -- Jessica Earnest was dialed in and Vanderbilt moved up a notch into second place Saturday at the Kutztown Invitational. The Commodores will face top seed Maryland-Eastern Shore in Sunday's championship bracket.
Vanderbilt went 4-2 on this day of traditional team games and Earnest averaged 236 from two different lineup positions to win the tournament and garner Most Valuable Player Honors.
Coach John Williamson was still concerned by his team's sporadic performance, pointing to the apparent lackluster effort in losses to Sacred Heart and Kutztown in particular.
"It may seem I'm hard to please when we are in second place and I'm not satisfied," he said, "but I believe we are so much better than we are showing. We lost the Sacred Heart game about the same way we lost to Saint Francis yesterday - we didn't compete or execute. And we lost by three pins to Kutztown when in my view we had the potential to win. We were down about 60 pins going into the seventh and I will say that the last 15 frames of that match might have been our best 15 frames of the entire season. We just came up short."
Searching for a spark after two games, Williamson turned to his seniors, moving the All-American Earnest from anchor to lead-off and inserting Kim Carper into the lineup. The veterans responded in magnificent style.
"Jess was about plus-200 over those four games," he said. "She has shown she's as good as they come when it comes to making quality shots. And I thought Kim Carper also stepped up; Kim did everything we asked and more. Those two seniors gave us quality leadership."
Williamson noted that Robyn Renslow moved from fourth in the rotation to anchor and closed with outstanding games of 276-263 to place third individually to make the all-tournament team.