SMYRNA, TN---In Hollywood, an athletic Senior Day would result in joyous victory celebrations and photos around a handsome trophy as the theme music plays over the credits.
In real life it doesn't always work that way and unfortunately for Vanderbilt, Sunday's Senior Day tribute played more like an old fashioned country ballad with some joy mixed with heartache and tears.
The Commodores finished fifth after starting the day with the No. 3 seed and hopes of winning the its Columbia 300 Music City Classic. But it was not in the cards as Coach John Williamson noted.
"In this sport there can be a fine line between victory and defeat," he said, "and today we had a slow start due to some poor execution and spare shooting and we try as we might we could never really get on track. We all wanted to make Senior Day special for our three seniors, who mean so much to us."
Vandy opened the day facing No. 4 seeded Stephen F. Austin, the defending national champions. The Lady Jacks bowled like champs, posting five scores over 200 in beating VU, 4-1, in the best of seven Bakers.
That sent Vanderbilt tumbling into the consolation bracket where they faced Sacred Heart, a strong team with a No. 10 national rank. The match became a grueling battle that lasted two hours and 40 minutes before the Pioneers prevailed in a 5-frame modified Baker - the sport's way to break ties. The teams had each won three games and had one tie before the overtime frames.
The day's finale went better for Vanderbilt. After dropping the first game to Fairleigh Dickinson, the Commodores rallied with four straight wins to nail down fifth place.
The Commodore bowling family, led by Athletic Director David Williams, saluted the team's three seniors - Kendyll Dellinger, Nicole Powell and Giselle Poss - after play had concluded.
No. 1 ranked McKendree beat Arkansas State, 4-1, to win the tournament title with Sacred Heart claiming third place over Stephen F. Austin.
Vandy sophomore Kristin Quah was named to the all-tournament team along with Most Valuable Player Julia Huren of Arkansas State, Rachel Darrow of Youngstown State, Heather Penatzer and Madysen Kell or of Sam Houston State and Lauren McKowen of Long Island University.
Quah was also voted by her teammates for the program's only award of the season, the Harry Stoddard Award, which goes to the Commodore best exemplifying the former bowling center's general manager's enthusiasm, pride, hard work and commitment to Vanderbilt bowling.
The Commodores travel to Jonesboro, Arkansas next week for the Southland Bowling League Championship.