Records Fall as Dore Bowlers Roll
HUNTSVILLE, TX---There were those who follow collegiate bowling that assumed with the graduation of All-Americans Brittni Hamilton and Samantha Hesley that Vanderbilt was in store for a rebuilding year.
The Commodores showed off their deep and talented roster here Saturday, another indication that they are not rebuilding but perhaps simply reloaded. Improved play from returnees and a strong freshman class have done the trick.
Not only did Vanderbilt waltz past its five opponents at the Track Kat Klash, one could suggest its first three games were the best back-to-back in program history. On a day when only two teams in the 16 team field could average 1,000, Vanderbilt was close to hitting on all cylinders with all five of its games over 1,000, two over 1,100 and one other on the cusp on 1,100.
"We could have averaged 1,100 today but we had some lapses," Coach John Williamson said. "We missed 14 makeable spares in the last four games but we had a good day, no doubt about it."
On such a gold-letter day with all seven Commodores contributing, it was difficult not to notice lead-off bowler Amanda Fry, who averaged 239 on the day with 290-240-230-226-200 efforts and at one time had 18 strikes in a row over the span of two games.
"Amanda was good but I thought every one of our players contributed," Williamson said. "I was really proud of Kim (Carper) and Tori (Ferris) in that last game. Louisiana Tech jumped off to a hot start and we had to come from behind to win. Kim was on pace for a 279 until a split in the tenth and Tori had a 223 when we needed them all."
Vanderbilt spent all day in first place and its top seed sends it into Sunday's bracket in a quick rematch against No. 8 seed Louisiana Tech. The winner plays the winner of the No. 4-5 seed match in the semi-final.
Williamson said that as impressive as today seemed to some, he didn't think it was much different than the team's Saturday performance two weeks ago at the Hawk Classic.
"The difference between today and two weeks ago at UMES was that we got off to a much better start Friday here than there so instead of trying to play catch-up, we were extending our lead. What I'd like to see us do better tomorrow is focus on the shot at hand, pick up the makeable spare and not be thinking ahead to the next frame."
Things got off to a sizzling start as Vandy broke 1,100 against Valparaiso with its first three bowlers combining to be +141, which would be good enough most days in the PBA. Nicole Mosesso shot 224 and Natalie Goodman added 227 more but both were overshadowed by the rookie Fry.
The Antelope, Calif., southpaw began with a spare, then steadily added one strike on top of the next and didn't quit until she ran out of boxes on the score sheet - a 290 which is the third best game in program history.
As it turned out this game was simply the `Dores appetizer for a second game feast. From her leadoff spot, Fry picked up where she left off, apparently determined not to let another spare spoil on her ledger by getting the front seven - 18 strikes in succession. That led to a 240, which normally would get some attention had it not been 50 pins shy of her first game.
This time she got even more help from her inspired teammates as both Mosesso and Earnest had five strikes in six frames and for a while 1,200 was in sight. By the time the pins quit dropping, Vanderbilt had a school record 1,156 and had soared into the team lead.
The two games are the best back-to-back efforts in program history and while the record book would not cover such things, the trifecta of games must rank as the best as well.
Next up was a mid-day showdown with Arkansas State. The talented Red Wolves were no match either as Vandy's party continued by rolling up 1,078 pins and the afternoon ended with wins over Tulane and Tech.
The lineup the first three games was the same as its Baker lineup Friday - Fry, Mosesso, Goodman, Robyn Renslow and Jessica Earnest. Carper and Ferris were inserted for Mosesso and Goodman against Tulane and Tech.
"I think match play Baker is what we do best," Williamson said looking ahead to Sunday.