Dores depth comes through

Feb. 2, 2013

Championship Bracket | Team Standings | Individual Standings

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Vanderbilt's superior team depth came through when its big guns misfired and as a result, the Commodores took down three of the nation's best teams en route to a 4-1 day and No. 2 seed in Sunday's championship bracket.

Vanderbilt beat second-rated Maryland-Eastern Shore, tourney unbeaten Arkansas State and Top 10 Norfolk State and will be paired against UMES in the first round of the title bracket. Arkansas State plays fourth seed Nebraska on the other side. Game time is 8:30 Central.

"We've always known we have talented people," Coach John Williamson said, "and this was the first opportunity to exercise our depth. We got production from some we knew would deliver when our stalwarts were having a rough time. We rely on each other, not just certain ones."

In many instances, Jessica Earnest and Robyn Renslow are two of the Commodores' most reliable but their wheels were off for awhile Saturday, forcing a new lineup and presenting an opportunity for Amanda Fry, Natalie Goodman and Tori Ferris among others to shine.

"It was a team effort today," Goodman said after unexpectedly spending the last three games at anchor. "Coach asked me if I could make shots in the five spot and I said 'sure'. It was my first game anchoring but I think you make shots regardless of your spot in the order."

Goodman's heroics in the No. 4 hole were a big reason Vandy came back to stun UMES in the opener. The sophomore southpaw hit four strikes in succession in the eighth through tenth frames to put tremendous pressure on the Hawks.

The pressure worked. The UMES anchor, who had been on 280 pace, opened her last two frames and allowed VU to win by a single pin in a thrilling finish.

"I thought I was struggling early in that game," Goodman admitted, "and I went back to fundamentals -- hit my spot and follow through."

Fry had just one open through four games, by far the most consistent of Commodores. She was leading the tournament individually after four games but lost her edge in the finale and placed fifth.

"I could have made better shots," Fry thought afterwards. "There are little things I need to work on. I was doing a good job most of the day taking my time and visualizing my shot."

Ferris came to the rescue in Game 3 and contributed solid scores.

"The coach told us freshmen that our objective is to fill frames," she said, "and I was just trying to make a good first shot. My teammates did a good job helping me calm down. We spent the day trying to help each other."

Vanderbilt sandwiched quality wins against UMES and Arkansas State around a sub-par effort against Central Missouri. To finish its Murder's Row run, it beat Norfolk State in the fourth game and ended the day with a win over host Prairie View A & M.

The Arkansas State game was also a white-knuckler that came down to the anchors. Either team could win and Goodman traded first strikes with the Red Wolves' Sarah Lokker. However, when Lokker didn't double, Goodman's 9-count was enough to ice a hard-fought, five pin win -- ASU's lone loss in 10 games here. Goodman had a 225, Fry went 207 and Ferris chipped in with a 201.

After the games were completed, all the teams were treated to a tour of the Bowling Hall of Fame, housed in the same complex as the International Training and Research Center. The Hall of Fame is full of interactive displays videos that provide an excellent history of the sport.

Team Leaders After 10 Games
Arkansas State 8,957
Vandy 8,709
UMES 8,635
Nebraska 8,442
Central Missouri 8,376
Norfolk State 8,203

VU 922 Maryland-Eastern Shore 921
Earnest 201
Mosesso 180
Fry 193
Goodman 192
Renslow 156

The day go off to rousing start with these rivals trading leads and staging comebacks. It appeared the Hawks might prevail as their reliable ancho T'Nia Falbo had six in a row but Vandy hung tough despite Robyn Renslow's uncharacteristic struggles. It was tick close in the ninth when Natalie Goodman chose a fantastic time to strike out. Her four-bagger to finish put it on the anchors; Renslow could have iced it with a mark but it was not to be. Falbo left a 7-9-10 and needed two to force a tie-breaker but to the astonishment of many, just got one and Vandy's day was off to a productive start.

Central Missouri 958 VU 889
Earnest 147
Mosesso 185
Fry 227
Goodman 198
Renslow 132

The UMES thriller was the last match completed in Round 1 and the Dores hurried over several pairs to face No. 1 rated Central. Whether it was trouble putting the big win aside quickly or something else, the Commodores were discombobulated from the git-go. The Jennies bolted to a 46 pin lead in the first frame; Vandy began with six opens in 12 frames - fatal against a top team. Body language sagged on the Black and Gold side and it was never really a contest. Amanda Fry was a bright spot, her 227 was her second straight clean game.

VU 997 Arkansas State 992
Earnest 150
Mosesso 214
Fry 207
Ferris 201
Vanderbilt used a new lineup and shook up the order against the unbeaten Wolves and it produced a game that likely contributed gray hair to the two young coaches. The Commodores were much sharper with the exception of the usually excellent Earnest, who was having problems with the ring finger that bothered her some yesterday. Nicole Mosesso fashioned a four-bagger from the sixth to the ninth to propel things and just like the UMES opener, this came down to the anchors. Goodman and Sarah Lokker traded strikes on their first effort but Lokker couldn't double while Goodman's 9 count iced it -- another white-knuckle victory and the first team in Arlington to dent ASU's record.

VU 932 Norfolk State 921
Earnest 191
Mosesso 160
Fry 227
Ferris 187
Goodman 167

The Commodores continued their way through the day's "Murder's Row" with their fourth Top 10 foe of the day. Earnest regained her form and Fry stayed hot but Norfolk would not go quietly. In fact, NSU staged a nice rally that forced Vandy to make some shots in the tenth before surviving with an 11-pin win. Fry was strong again; the freshman has had but one open in four games today. Tori Ferris helped the cause mightily with four in a row to close from the eighth to her last ball in the tenth.

VU 941 Prairie View A & M 869
Earnest 202
Mosesso 168
Fry 162
Ferris 195
Goodman 214

The long day concluded with a match with the hosts. Vandy grabbed an early lead and nursed it through much of the game, breaking it open in the latter frames. Earnest's 202 was clean, signaling the star had gotten her groove back. Goodman's anchor 214 and Ferris' 195 out of the four hole were also factors in the day's fourth victory.



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