March 1, 2008
BESSEMER, AL---With lane conditions about as easy as they will be found in collegiate bowling, Vanderbilt ended the first day of the Holiday Bowl Classic in fourth place.
The Commodores averaged 1,013 for five team games, over a 200 pin-per-bowler standard, but are still 199 pins behind red-hot Nebraska in team standings. Vanderbilt won games over Winston-Salem State, South Carolina State and Sacred Heart but lost to the Huskers and Central Missouri, which sits in second place going into tomorrow's finale.
"Our last game of the afternoon against Sacred Heart was good to see," said Coach John Williamson, referring to the team-high 1,106 pin total against the spirited opponent. "We were coming off a disappointing game with Central Missouri and I was glad that we had the desire to come back strong. We just dug ourselves into a deep hole early in that Central game and couldn't get out."
In that match, three Jenny bowlers rolled better than 223 to hold off a Commodore rally that was led by Michelle Peloquin's 231 effort.
Part of the spark in the Sacred Heart victory game from junior Kaitlin Reynolds, who was substituted into the lineup and closed out with five consecutive strikes to bowl 214.
"I had a rough start with some jitters," Reynolds admitted, "but after I had that split in the fourth I came back with a pretty good shot and then I settled down. Last season I had the role as sixth man and it was nice to come back and contribute today, especially since I didn't bowl well early this year."
Two other Commodores were especially strong and steady during the long afternoon of competition. Sophomore Josie Earnest put together games of 215, 221, 227, 212 and 235 while junior Tara Kane went 203, 196, 203, 218 and 234.
"It was a dog fight out there," Earnest said afterwards. "Even though it was a soft shot, we had to make moves quickly; I think I changed after almost every shot." The Vandalia, Ill., product had a good day converting spares.
Kane bowled leadoff and was a picture of consistency.
"I didn't feel like the scores we were posting showed the effort we were putting forth," she said. "I thought we fought hard all day and that the Sacred Heart win was a good way to finish our day. Kaitlin was important, we needed her burst of energy."
The tournament, based on total pin fall, concludes tomorrow with five more team games.
Top Four Teams (16 entered):
1. Nebraska 5,365
2. Central Missouri 5,231
3. Maryland Eastern Shore 5175
4. Vanderbilt 5166
Nebraska 1,029 Vanderbilt 988
Ashley Belden 172
Karen Grygiel 190
Michelle Peloquin 208
Vanderbilt 1,027 Winston Salem State 721
Vanderbilt 1,035 South Carolina State 828
Central Missouri 1,088 Vanderbilt 1,010
Vanderbilt 1,106 Sacred Heart 1,074