The #12 Valparaiso bowling squad took to the lanes for the first time in nearly two months Friday at the Mid-Winter Classic in Cabot, Ark., closing the first of three days of competition in tenth place.
The Crusaders totaled 3,564 pins over their five four-game baker matches on Friday, good for tenth place of the 14 competing teams in the high-level field. However, Valpo is just 80 pins behind sixth-place Morgan after day one.State
“Today was a day that demonstrated how competitive collegiate bowling is, not to mention how strong the field is at the ASU Mid-Winter Classic,” said Crusader head coach Stephen Anthony. “On day one alone, we faced five teams ranked in the top-20 in the nation, three of which were ranked inside the top ten.”
The Crusaders kicked off tournament action against #6 Nebraska Friday, but lost to the Huskers, 749-663. Valpo jumped out to a five-pin lead after game one of its next match and was tied after two games before falling to #3 Delaware State, 756-700. #13 Minnesota State-Mankato defeated the Crusaders in their third match of the day, 802-725.
Valpo found itself down 70 pins just one game into its fourth match, against #15 Alabama A&M, but rallied back with three straight 190+ efforts, including a 205 for its best game of the day, to come from behind for a 744-695 victory. The Crusaders carried that momentum into the day’s finale, taking down the tournament host, #4 Arkansas State 732-663.
“We certainly had our struggles today as we were working hard to find our game,” said Anthony. “Faced with strong competition, there wasn't much room for error and unfortunately we couldn't put many runs together in the first three matches. I was very pleased with how we stayed together as a team today through the tough games and found our way against Alabama A&M and Arkansas State. Our focus has always been to fill frames and get spares and I thought we did a good job of that in the final two matches.”
Valparaiso (29-24) returns to the lanes for the middle day of action on Saturday morning at 9 a.m.