March 3, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Better!
A casual glance at the final results might not back that up with Vanderbilt winning just one of three matches Sunday to place third at the Ozark Invitational but as Paul Harvey used to say, here's the rest of the story.
Unlike recent Sundays when the chips were on the line and the Commodores faded quietly into the sunset, on this Sunday they competed hard and finished strong. They had a tough assignment, starting with Arkansas State and dropping a 4-2 Baker match but registered scores strong enough in the process to secure the No. 4 tournament seed.
That pushed Vanderbilt into a semi-final match with top-seeded Nebraska and although dropping that game by an identical 4-2 margin, posted scores that forced the Big Red to work, not coast. The consolation game was a rematch with Stephen F. Austin, who had upset the `Dores on Friday but would not do so today.
Vanderbilt prevailed over SFA, 4-2, and finished on a tear with games of 245-215-203 and a 265 that began with the front eight - eight straight strikes - so that SFA's own solid score of 248 was not nearly enough. Better!
"We were better all the way around today even if we lost two games," said Coach John Williamson. "We competed. We had some bad bowling luck along the way but we held together from start to finish. We left the center disappointed with third place but I am very positive with how we conducted ourselves today. We only had five missed makeables the entire day."
There is certainly room for improvement, such as in Game 4 of the Nebraska match when weak first ball counts (less than 8 pins) cost Vanderbilt 11 valuable pins and it lost the game by six. In both its losses, a mark or less would have made the difference between victory and defeat.
Vanderbilt's lineup much of the day was Natalie Goodman, Nicole Mosesso, Tori Ferris, Robyn Renslow and Jessica Earnest. Amanda Fry came in for Ferris during the Nebraska game and Carper entered for Mosesso in the finale.
"I thought everyone did a good job today," Williamson said. "I thought Natalie did a nice job at lead-off and Kim and Amanda came in and bowled very well against Stephen F. Austin."
Renslow made the all-tournament team with her 220 Sunday average. Nebraska cruised by Arkansas State, 4-0, to take yet another title in what so far has been a very good year for the Huskers.
Vanderbilt's last tournament of the regular season comes March 15-17 when it hosts the Columbia 300 Music City Classic and its large field of 28 teams, 18 of the Top 20 rated squads among them.
Arkansas State 4 VU 2
Nebraska 4 VU 2
VU 4 Stephen F. Austin 2