March 13, 2009
View Friday's Results
SMYRNA, Tenn. --After spending most of the first day of the Columbia 300 Music City Classic languishing back in the pack, Vanderbilt's bowlers employed an unusual tactic to claw its way higher on the leader board.
The Commodores finished the day in third place behind Arkansas State and New Jersey City in the 23-team field. It needed to rally in its last two games to get into that position.
The top-rated Commodores were inconsistent in their first four games, losing two, while tinkering with the lineup looking for a spark. Finally, Coach John Williamson took matters into his hands, with the unusual step of pulling two of his stars out of the lineup.
"We rely on Josie (Earnest) and Michelle (Peloquin) a lot for good reasons," Williamson said afterwards. "Midway into today, I told the team if we were going to do something everyone has to do something. We can't rely on two people. So we challenged everyone by taking them out of their comfort zone.
"We couldn't rely on Michelle and Josie if they weren't in the lineup so it was a sink or swim situation and they responded just like we knew they would. We have the ability and we felt if backed into a corner they would compete. For some reason, especially on Fridays, we seem to lack on our competitive side, not out execution."
The revamped lineup produced the team's highest two scores of the day in wins over Florida A & M and Adelphi. It included senior Kaitlin Reynolds and junior Ashley Belden and moved freshman star Brittni Hamilton into the anchor role for the first time.
The Rochester, N.Y. product came through big-time to no one's surprise, closing out games with a flurry of strikes.
"Coach created a different situation by taking Michelle and Josie out of the lineup and forcing everybody to step up" Hamilton explained. "I felt comfortable although I was in a learning position as anchor. I thought we struggled more in the beginning than we should have but we adjusted as the day progressed."
The field is extremely strong with nine of the nation's top 10 teams in the field. Defending champion Central Missouri is fourth and Sacred Heart, battling to make the NCAA Championship field of eight, is fifth after a good day.
Arkansas State Coach Chris James, who took his team to the runner-up spot in last year's NCAA finals, said his team had a primary goal coming into the day and was pleased when the Baker games were finished. His team was the only one to go 6-0 on the day.
"We achieved what we wanted to today which was to simply win our matches. We played consistent and we adjusted well to the lane conditions. "
Competition resumes Saturday at 11:00 a.m. CT with six traditional team games. Sunday's finals will be determined by bracketed Baker play-offs based on total pin fall from the first two days.
Music City Classic Day 1 Results (Total Pins)
1. Arkansas State -- (4461)
2. New Jersey City -- (4451)
3. Vanderbilt -- (4357)
4. Central Missouri -- (4334)
5. Sacred Heart -- (4326)
6. Fairleigh Dickinson -- (4308)
7. Alabama A&M -- (4302)
8. Delaware State -- (4293)
9. Nebraska -- (4276)
10. Southern -- (4276)
11. Minnesota State-Mankato -- (4240)
12. Kutztown -- (4125)
13. Florida A&M -- (4124)
14. Adelphi -- (4104)
15. Jackson State -- (4059)
16. Morgan State -- (4026)
17. Saint Francis -- (4019)
18. Hampton -- (3874)
19. North Carolina A&T -- (3850)
20. Grand Canyon -- (3841)
21. Saint Peter's -- (3791)
22. Winston-Salem State -- (3210)
23. Norfolk State -- (0)
Vanderbilt's Friday Results
VU 704 St. Peters 592
VU 697 Morgan State 695
New Jersey City 780 VU 705
Delaware State 770 VU 732
VU 738 Florida A& M 703
VU 781 Adelphi 747