Feb. 2, 2014
ARLINGTON, TX---Vanderbilt finished the Prairie View Invitational in second place, a sputtering ending in the championship match dimming the accomplishment of an excellent tournament finish highlighted by a strong semi-final win over the tournament's top seed.
The Commodores appeared to be on the verge of winning their first tournament of the season after upending No. 1 seed Arkansas State, 4-1, in the semi-finals and jumping out to a 2-1 lead over Nebraska in the best of seven Baker format. The Red Wolves are also the nation's No. 1 rated team.
It was downhill from that point, however, as Vandy's spare shooting at the top of its order went south and splits came much too often. The `Dores had 11 open frames in their last three losses and could manage meager scores of just 166-161-154, taking the pressure off the Big Red. Vanderbilt had crafted nine scores over 200 in their first 13 games of the day.
There were some very tangible take-aways for Vanderbilt, which now has two weeks to prepare for its next tournament. Foremost, the Commodores had some quality victories over good teams in this event that included seven Top 10 teams.
Vandy may have also solidified a new link in its starting rotation. Junior lefty Rebeca Reguero showed she can repeat shots and stand up strong when the heat is on, contributing a high strike percentage from the fourth spot in the lineup and often setting up tournament Most Valuable Player Robyn Renslow in the anchor position.
In addition to the Arkansas State and Nebraska games, Vanderbilt polished off fifth-rated Stephen F. Austin 4-1 to open the day as the tournament format dictated the extra game to complete the round-robin among the dozen teams. While counting in official NCAA statistics, the win did not affect the tournament bracket.
The Commodores will return to Texas Feb. 14 for Sam Houston State's Track Kat Klash.
(Editor's Note: Check back later for updates and comments from the team.)
VU 4 SFA 1
VU 4 ASU 1
NU 4 VU 2