READING, Pa. - Vanderbilt lost an extra-game Baker match with eventual tournament champion Maryland-Eastern Shore but rallied for two hard-fought victories to finish the Kutztown Invitational with a 13-2 overall mark and third place trophy.
While third-place is never the objective, the Commodores' three day performance was a marked improvement from last week's spring opener.
"It was generally a good weekend," Coach John Williamson said. "We gained back some ground and some confidence that we might have lost last week but there were still some lapses that seem self-inflicted. We did have some real good moments and will build upon those."
Natalie Goodman was presented with her all-tournament team plaque based on her fourth-place finish in Saturday's team game play but it could be said that seldom-used junior Rebeca Reguero played the key role in Sunday's winning efforts.
The Arizona native, who earned a 4.0 grade point during fall semester, began the day as a reserve but entered the lineup after Vanderbilt had squandered a 2-0 lead in the best of seven against Valparaiso. With the Commodores out of sync and trailing 3 games to 2, Reguero was inserted into the second spot in the rotation and from that point the Vandy machine began to hum.
Vanderbilt won back-to-back games to polish off the Crusaders, 4-3, and then faced No. 1 seeded Fairleigh Dickinson in the consolation finals. FDU had been red-hot yesterday in beating the `Dores but had lost matches to UMES and Whitewater in early bracket rounds.
The Commodores looked poised to win Game 1 with the Scarlet Knights but an unexpected open frame in the tenth let FDU escape with a win, 190-188. Vanderbilt then ran off to straight wins while stringing strikes. FDU tied it 2-2 before Vanderbilt put the hammer down to win, 4-2.
Vanderbilt began its day with a tight battle with fourth-seeded UMES, ending the seven games with three wins and a draw to force a five-frame mini-game.
Maryland-Eastern Shore beat Wisconsin-Whitewater in the title match, 4-2. Vanderbilt travels to Arlington, Tex., for the Prairie View A&M Invitational next Friday through Sunday.