HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Vanderbilt was riding high with four straight wins Friday afternoon but a sluggish fifth game slid the Commodores into a tie for second place at Sam Houston State's Track Kat Klash. Vanderbilt trails surprising Wisconsin-Whitewater and shares second with Nebraska in total pin fall, which determines the standings and Sunday's championship bracket.
The 'Dores began the day with a strong 875 pin effort in the four-game Baker format and led the 16-team field. They slipped into second after the second game and held that spot and were unbeaten heading into the day's final match against the host Bearkats, who were also unbeaten.
"This was a much better Friday than we have been experiencing," said Coach John Williamson, who had hoped his team would get off to a stronger start. "There are always a few shots you would like to get back but this was the closest thing we've had yet to a complete day.
"We used the same lineup all day because I thought everybody had some shining moments," Williamson continued. "I thought Jess was her usual strong self and Robyn had a good day - they all had good days. We hope to carry some good momentum into tomorrow."
After starting with two strikes to temporarily seize the lead, Vanderbilt was able to register just three more strikes along with an open frame and Sam Houston escaped with a 785-771 win.
When asked to explain his team's steadier Friday, Williamson said "we tried to do a better job of focusing and we have begun playing for someone bigger than ourselves. Things are easier when you are doing them for something bigger than yourself."
Saturday's action starts at 9:30 with five team games. Bowl.com is streaming the tournament live so Vanderbilt's normal UStream coverage is not allowed to function.
Team Leaders Wisconsin-Whitewater 4,103 Vanderbilt 4,065 Nebraska 4,065
Vanderbilt Results VU 875 Stephen F. Austin 702 VU 228-176 VU 237-164 VU 204-172 VU 206-190
VU 803 Grambling 537 VU 192-161 VU 192-119 VU 225-149 VU 194-108
VU 780 Monmouth 752 Mon 198-170 VU 2214-140 VU 180-158 Mon 256-209
VU 836 Prairie View 702 VU 216-193 VU 201-147 VU 213-156 PV 208-206
Sam Houston 785 VU 771 SH 223-170 VU 197-195 VU 211-172 SH 195-193