Natalie Cortese rolled a team-high 290 Saturday in a victory over Central Missouri. (Aran Kessler)
Led by Natalie Cortese’s (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates [Univ. of Central Missouri]) 290 game against her former Jennies squad, the Valparaiso bowling team went 3-2 Saturday against nationally-ranked competition at the Greater Ozark Invitational in Springfield, Mo.
“I was pleased with our second day of competition,” said Crusader head coach Stephen Anthony. “We started off well in our first game, but lost our focus and our attention in closing out frames. We rebounded well with wins over three nationally ranked programs. I was particularly pleased with how we competed in three close games; staying focused on what was working for us. We entered the tenth frame in all three games with the game on the line and were able to close out frames and maintain our lead.”
The Crusaders started the day against #7 Arkansas State, falling to the Red Wolves 1019-882 despite a team-high 217 game from Amanda Cortese (Hoffman Estates, Ill./ Hoffman Estates [Univ. of Central Missouri]). Valpo bounced back in its second showdown, downing #17 Elmhurst 926-856 behind games of 235 and 201 from Natalie and Amanda Cortese, respectively. Valpo’s third game of the day saw the Crusaders defeat #12 Minnesota State-Mankato by a 962-901 count, getting 200+ games from Natalie Cortese (214), Amanda Cortese (204), and Krystyna Johnson (Montgomery, Ill./Oswego East [Delaware State]) (201).
The Crusaders then posted their best cumulative game of the day in a defeat of #4 University of Central Missouri, defeating the host institution 1054-958. Natalie Cortese went 9-spare in the first frame before striking out for her 290, while Nicole Hamilton (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) tied for the second-best game of the day with a 235 against the Jennies. Valpo closed competition on Saturday, falling 1096-885 to #2 Vanderbilt.
“The final game was a good lesson for us as we need to learn how to sustain our level of play; following an emotional game vs. Central Missouri, we started off slow against Vanderbilt and were chasing the game from the very beginning,” said Anthony. “But as we move through our first tournament, there are lessons in every game and I have been pleased with how we have responded to what we learned as a team this weekend. Tomorrow will be another test and challenge as we strive to close out on a positive note and put three good days of competition together.”
Valparaiso (7-2) concludes action at the Greater Ozark Invitational on Sunday in Springfield, Mo. Bowling is scheduled to commence around noon.