READING, Pa. - Vanderbilt finished fourth at the Kutztown Bowling Invitational Sunday, squandering a commanding 3-1 lead in the third-place match to Sacred Heart to leave the Hiester Lanes on a decidedly down note.
While third place was not the objective when the tournament began, it would have been a nice consolation prize given Friday's disastrous start. But the Commodores never got their groove on at this 28-team tournament, the vast majority of those coming from the northeast. They managed a mild rally Saturday against softer opposition but it was too little, too late. Inconsistency was the culprit.
Sunday started on an uptick, taking down Delaware State in the best-of-seven Bakers and notching some quality scores in the process. The sunshine continued during the next match, brushing past Valparaiso by a comfortable 4-1 score to work its way up to the third-place match - the best finish the Commodores could hope for after missing out on the title bracket.
It appeared time to start warming up the team bus after Vanderbilt jumped to a commanding 3-1 advantage, posting a solid 257 score in the fourth game. Ironically that was the last game the `Dores could capture as they compiled lackluster scores of 178, 184 and 159 with the outcome on the line.
Give Sacred Heart its due; the Pioneers bowled well here as they have the majority of this season and their scores in game 5 and 6 of 219 and 224 kept the pressure on at all times.
Anchor Samantha Hesley was a big factor in the first games. Time and time again the senior came through in the 10th frame, once striking out to salvage a draw against Delaware State. Her 200 average Saturday put her in 12th place individually, Vanderbilt's highest placer.