Unbeaten day propels bowlers to third
MILLSBORO, DE---Vanderbilt enjoyed its first unbeaten Sunday in 21 months as it sailed past three opponents en route to a third place finish at Maryland-Eastern Shore's Hawk Classic.
"This was easily our best day of the season," said Coach John Williamson. "And it was a team effort. We were strong from one through five in our rotation. Robyn (Renslow) won the individual title and Natalie (Goodman) was fifth but I want to be sure to credit our 2-3-4 bowlers - Nicole Mosesso, Tori Ferris and Giselle Poss. You can't post these consistently strong numbers without everyone pitching in."
Vanderbilt dropped two of the morning's first three Baker games to Delaware State despite totals over 193 and then kicked it in high gear with a trio of games over 200 in the best-of-seven format. The key game was likely the fourth, where Renslow struck out to give Vandy a narrow 214-207 win to even things at two games apiece and swing momentum at the same time.
It was then on to third rated Central Missouri, where the Jennies won the first game before succumbing to a flurry of Commodore games over 200. A key game here would be the third, where Vanderbilt won 218-215 to go up two games to one. In the consolation final, the red-hot `Dores blitzed Kutztown with four games over 200.
Renslow and Goodman made the all-tournament team and Renslow's win was her first in collegiate competition.
"I am getting more comfortable in our rotation," the quiet Californian said, "and it becomes easier to make shots. I've gained confidence in myself and have a lot of confidence in my team. I had a pretty good tournament last weekend so I felt good coming into this week."
Goodman, like Renslow a member of Junior Team USA, said afterward that a "blunt" conversation with her coach after Saturday's first game "lit a fire under me".
"I had a rough start and was doing just what I wasn't supposed to be doing," the junior lefty admitted, "so I decided I was going to over-exaggerate what I was supposed to be doing and it really paid off. I also had Nic Mo (Nicole Mosesso) making great shots right behind me all weekend and that helped so much."
To sophomore Tori Ferris, bowling third in the hot lineup, the day didn't seem complicated.
"We were simply focused on competing and throwing good shots," she said. "We were not feeling any pressure because we knew we had each other's backs. We didn't have the start to the tournament we wanted but our goal was to finish strong and we did."
"We talked a lot lately about just being ourselves," Williamson said. "And today that was our focus. We had loose swings and with the looseness you can create more carry. When we made a mistake, we quickly had someone cover it. I am really proud of our team; this is a very good way to go into our schedule break realizing what we are capable of doing."
Goodman thinks the team's good finish Saturday and consistent play today are "building blocks" toward the season they believe they can have.
"When we decide what we want to do we can make it happen." Host Maryland-Eastern Shore topped Fairleigh Dickinson to win the championship.
Vanderbilt is now idle until January 17 when it travels to Arkansas State's Mid-Winter Classic.