The start and the finish were keepers but the middle three games were pretty bland as Vanderbilt won four of five games but sits in fifth place in pin count after the first day of the Hawk Classic.
The Commodores came out of the game hitting on all cylinders in a 1,016-809 win over Howard. Featuring a new lineup of Kristin Quah, Kelsey Abrahamsen, Samantha Gainor, Jordan Newham and Maria Bulanova, the `Dores grabbed an early lead and kept expanding it.
Of note in the game was Abrahamsen's starting spot as VU went with an all-righty lineup and Quah's conversion of the 7-9-10 split earning high-five's from the opponents. This came a month after she nailed the rare 7-10 split at the Brunswick Bearcat Open. Bulanova was a strike machine in the early going.
Delaware State was next up, the same team that drove Vandy nuts two weeks ago by handing the Commodores three losses in two days. This time the tables turned, a combination of subpar spare shooting by the Hornets and a strong start by Vanderbilt. The final was a modest scoring 922-827.
Host Maryland-Eastern Shore popped up third and it appeared to be another workmanlike win in the making after Vandy took a 58-pin lead after two games of the five-game Bakers. Those that turned their attention elsewhere would have been startled to find out that Vanderbilt not only lost the match, it couldn't reach 900 pins as execution broke down. Emily Rigney was inserted for Quah midway in this game although the pair was switched again later in the day.
Vanderbilt handled Coppin State in the fourth game and closed with 1,020 pins against Franklin Pierce to win by 138.
Sacred Heart, the only team to average over 200, leads the field with 5,008 pins despite winning just three of five games. Sam Houston, UMES and Delaware State are next in line. Vandy's 4,742 pins (189.7 average) are within striking distance, pun intended.
Saturday's team game play begins at 10:05 Eastern time (9:05 CST). Facebook Live is carrying the stream.