ARLINGTON, Texas - Vanderbilt got its typical superlative performance from All-American Jessica Earnest and a big boost from sophomore Nicole Mosesso and is in second place at the Prairie View Invitational after the first day of play.
Vanderbilt went 4-1 in the 4-game Baker sets and trails Arkansas State by only 19 pins heading into Saturday's team games. The 'Dores beat Valparaiso, Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech and Bethune Cookman and lost to Nebraska, which had its best game of its day against Vanderbilt.
"The shot was difficult and we benefitted from our excellent execution in the first game (a day-high 913) and rode that much of the rest of the afternoon," said Coach John Williamson. "We didn't execute so well in the middle of the day but we were able to convert some spares and keep us even."
Williamson quickly pointed out sophomore Nicole Mosesso's performance, if indeed it needing any identification.
"I was really proud of Nicole," he said. "She was able to do do some good things, threw a lot of quality shots and she was a big reason we kept our heads above water."
Mosesso had her own reasons.
"I've been working hard on my confidence," she admitted. "I had a two-hour meeting with coach early this week and heard a lot of things I needed to hear. I came here focused on staying in the present and today was the first time I was able to do that. I had a lot of confidence in my shot, I didn't get down if I missed a shot or spare and my teammates were behind me all the way."
Another obvious weapon was Earnest, a human strike machine.
"This was just another day for Jess," Williamson said. "We almost take her for granted but she takes tremendous pride in extending our leads or keeping us close in the tenth frame. All year long she's done this and when every pin counts it is important."
For her part, Earnest called it a "decent" day and lamented that she still had a miscue or two. Early in Game 1, she had a problem with her ring finger but that was remedied quickly and she was on a tear.
Vanderbilt has its work cut out in the traditional games, facing powerful Central Missouri, Maryland-Eastern Shore and Arkansas State. The event is being covered by bowl.com and Vanderbilt bowling's USTREAM.
Arkansas State 4,047
Norfolk St 3,745
Central Mo. 3,706
Game 1 VU 913, Valparaiso 706 VU lineup: Goodman, Fry, Mosesso, Renslow, Earnest
Vanderbilt got out of the game quickly, stringing games of 231-247-214-221 to easily out-distance the Crusaders. The 913 score, the best in the field by about 60 pins, was built by filling all but three frames in the entire four games and with chunks of strikes. In the last game, Ferris was inserted in the four slot, Renslow went to anchor while Earnest got a brief respite from a sore finger.
Game 2 VU 758, Stephen F. Austin 653 Same starting lineup. Changing lanes stopped the Commodores' momentum but still brought a victory. Vandy had as many opens in the first game (3) as it had in the first four games. VU scores of 163-193-225-177 had just one game with a run of strikes.
Game 3 VU 780, Louisiana Tech 631
Same starters. It is apparent throughout the lanes that big scores are the exception and not the rule. VU scores 170-192-198-220 to easily outdistance the Techsters. Earnest strong.
Game 4 Nebraska 862, VU 775 VU lineup: Goodman, Mosesso, Ferris, Renslow, Earnest.
The Huskers had their best set of scores on the day and led throughout, although Earnest seemed at times to single-handedly keep her team within eyeshot with a barrage of strikes. At one point it was noted that Vandy had 17 opens on the day and 10 were missed "makeables". Despite the loss, VU's total pin count was close to its prior to games scores. The pattern is playing tough for almost everyone, VU still second place overall behind Arkansas State
Game 5 VU 802, Bethune Cookman 658 VU lineup: Ferris, Mosesso, Carper, Renslow, Earnest. The Commodores posted consistent scores of 195-202-202-202 to keep their grip on second place. Earnest strikes out multiple times to maximize Vandy scoring.