March 18, 2012
SMYRNA, Tenn. - Third-rated Nebraska defeated second-ranked Arkansas State, 4-3, to win the eighth annual Columbia 300 Music City Invitational Sunday afternoon at the Smyrna Bowling Center. Host Vanderbilt won two of three games but never found its high gear and finished a disappointing 10th.
Nebraska's Kristi Mickelson averaged an impressive 223 Saturday over demanding lane conditions to win individual and Most Valuable Player honors. Alabama A&M's Addileen Pointer's 277 was the tournament's high game.
The all-tournament team consisted of Nicole Trudell of Sacred Heart, Natalie Cortese of Valparaiso, Sierra Gibbons of Stephen F. Austin, Samantha Hesley of Vanderbilt and Dayna Galganski of Sam Houston State.
The Commodores finished the long three days with a 10-5 won-loss worksheet, highlighted by victories over the top three rated teams - Fairleigh Dickinson, Arkansas State and Nebraska.
The tournament concludes Vanderbilt's regular season. The NCAA will announce the eight teams that advance to the NCAA Championship in Cleveland March 29.
Vanderbilt Game Capsules
VU 4.5 New Jersey City 2.5
The Commodores opened with a rotation of Hamilton, O'Brien, Carper, Earnest and Hesley and won the first two games handily, in part by steady bowling and aided by the ice cold spare shooting by the Gothic Knights. Game 3 was a nip and tuck matter, Vandy rallying late to draw near; Hesley could have won it by converting a spare with her last ball in the 10th but one pin stood and it ended in a draw. Vandy won the fourth game to take a big lead but sputtered in games 5 and 6 with costly opens to put give NJC life. Vanderbilt regained control and won the 7th game with Hesley's strike in the 10th the clincher.
VU 4 Prairie View 2
The lineup was Hamilton, O'Brien, Goodman, Earnest and Hesley. The `Dores spotted Prairie View a one-game lead, then came back with a 204 and a clean 183 to grab the lead. The fourth game was the most intense, with Hesley going strike-strike-9 in the 10th but falling one pin shy, 211-210. Vanderbilt began game 5 with a four-bagger, went clean and was never threatened. The sixth game was close but Hesley again reminded everyone why she is the anchor, comfortably going spare-strike to ice the match.
Wisconsin-Whitewater 4 VU 0
Vanderbilt spent nearly the entire game adrift and consequently was sunk by Whitewater. The Warhawks won a loosely played first game in the best-of-seven, 167-157 and gained momentum while Vanderbilt remained as cold at the over-active air-conditioning unit on the center's south end. The bright spot for the Commodores was freshman Natalie Goodman, who seemed at times to be the lone `Dore with the line.