#11 Valparaiso opened the 2010-2011 season Friday afternoon at the Greater Ozark Invitational in Springfield, Mo., going 4-1 on the day.
"It was a good team effort today," said Crusader head coach Shon Washington. "It's difficult not to be excited about the start of the season, but it's only one day. Every member of the team contributed, and I thought freshman lefty Nicole Sanhamel (Vernon Hills, Ill./Vernon Hills) was our team MVP today. She really bowled like a seasoned veteran."
Playing five-game baker matches in their first competition of the season, the Crusaders opened play against Sam Houston State. Valpo struggled early against the Bearkats, falling behind by 21 pins after three games in which it failed to break 170. But the Crusaders closed the contest with games of 192 and 193 to come from behind and earn an 850-767 victory in the opener.
Valpo’s second match, against #20 Louisiana Tech, went much smoother, as the Crusaders outscored the Lady Techsters in all five games en route to a 918-778 victory. In their next match, against Southern, the Crusaders again found themselves down after three games, but they posted a 194 in game four to take a 14-pin advantage and then rolled a day-high 226 game in the finale to win their third straight match, 912-843.
Valpo’s only stumble on the day came in the fourth match, which pitted the Crusaders against #6 Arkansas State. The Red Wolves used a 252 second game to take a lead they would never relinquish as the Crusaders fell 1008-903. But Valpo rebounded in the finale against Elmhurst, again rallying from a deficit after three games with games of 191 and 205 to close its best five-game set of the day with a 942-903 win.
Valparaiso (4-1) continues action at the Greater Ozark Invitational on Saturday afternoon, with action slated for a noon start.