Feb. 24, 2013
BESSEMER, AL---The three hour ride home on I-65 felt much longer for a disappointed Vanderbilt bowling team that finished third Sunday at Alabama A & M's Holiday Classic.
The Commodores lost, 4 games to 2, in the championship bracket semifinal to Arkansas State to get their day moving in the wrong direction and then were upset by a Sam Houston State team they had conquered both Friday and Saturday by about 100 pins a game. A win in the third place match over host Alabama A & M was of little consolation.
It was apparent early on that despite their best intentions, the confident, loose arm swings and reassuring smiles had disappeared during the overnight hours, replaced somehow with an uptight demeanor that ushered in subpar spare shooting and not enough strikes.
"When we were warming up we were loose but we got too tense when competition started," Natalie Goodman said. "The shot was there but we got into our own heads. I think when some of us get a little tight the rest of the feed off that. We had our opportunities but we seemed to match their opens so we never were able to seize the momentum."
Coach John Williamson managed to find a few rays of sunshine.
"I thought putting Robyn in the 5 spot today for the first time in match play gave her some good experience and she bowled pretty well. As a team we didn't put ourselves in position to win. Some things we did well yesterday we didn't do well today. With the youth and inexperience we have we need to manufacture success on Sunday. We've been pretty good on Fridays and Saturdays but not so good on Sundays. However, unlike in Arlington we didn't fold the last game; we know it's there but we want to figure out how to find it on Sundays sooner than later."
Renslow and Amanda Fry made the all-tournament team for their play in Saturday's team games. Arkansas State topped Sam Houston in the title game.
Arkansas State 4 VU 2
Sam Houston 4 VU 2
SH 228 VU 178
VU 4 Alabama A & M 1