March 26, 2014
Vanderbilt's bowling team Wednesday received its ninth consecutive invitation to join the field of eight at the 2014 NCAA Championship, to be held April 10-12 in Wycliffe, Ohio.
"Our expectations are high," said Commodore Coach John Williamson, "but we are not a program that automatically assumes we will make the national championship field. Every year it gets more difficult as there are more quality teams. Some very good teams didn't hear their names called today so we are appreciative of our opportunity and look forward to it."
Vanderbilt joins a field highlighted by top-rated Arkansas State and includes Central Missouri, Nebraska, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Fairleigh Dickinson, Sam Houston State and Wisconsin-Whitewater. It is, by a twist of fate, the identical field as a year ago when the Commodores placed second to Nebraska . The Commodores had been a puzzling team at times during the season, strong one moment and seemingly disjointed the next. That inconsistency began to change late in the season when Vanderbilt was second at the Greater Ozark Invitational and then won its own power-packed Columbia 300 Music City Classic.
"Those season-ending tournaments were a huge boost," says team captain Nicole Channin. "We were able to string good shots together and work for a common cause. That's the great thing about college athletics, nothing beats it. You work so hard all year for one moment, never actually knowing when it will come. That's the mentality I want to see with our team go with."
While Vanderbilt has just one senior on its roster, its young lineup will enter the championship with a significant amount of experience at the big dance. Sophomore All-American Robyn Renslow is just one of the `Dores that realize the red-hot season finish doesn't extend into next month.
"It is important to remember that moment (title in home tournament) because it was a confidence boost but we need to just embrace this weekend and not let our minds get ahead of our actions."
The team has been practicing regularly in its sparkling new campus bowling center and will continue doing so until departing for Ohio April 8.