Valpo Places Seventh at Big Red Invitational
Natalie Cortese and the Crusaders placed seventh. (Ashley Busiel)
Valpo Places Seventh at Big Red Invitational
Saturday, January 22, 2011

The #13 Valparaiso bowling team wrapped up action Saturday at the Big Red Invitational in Lincoln, Neb. in seventh place out of a field which included five of the nation’s top six squads.

“I believe the team competed at a high level this weekend and took a huge step forward for our young program,” said Crusader head coach Shon Washington.  “This weekend was, in many ways, a preview of the teams that may be competing for this season's national championship.”

The Crusaders opened action Saturday, contested in the best-of-seven baker format, against #4 Central Missouri.  Valpo dropped the opening game despite rolling a 200, but bounced back with a 192-183 win in game two to even the match at a game apiece.  The Jennies took each of the next three games though to earn the 4-1 victory.

The second match of the day pitted Valpo against Elmhurst, and this time the Crusaders jumped out to the early advantage with wins of 202-139 and 188-182 in the first two games.  Elmhurst cut its deficit in half with a 173-163 win in game three, but that would be as close as it would get, as Valpo closed out the 4-1 victory with wins of 224-212 and 188-168 in games four and five, respectively.

The Crusaders closed tournament action against #6 Arkansas State, and after falling behind two games to none, took game three 189-167 to move to within 2-1.  But despite rolling a 223 in game four, Valpo couldn’t even the match, as the Red Wolves posted a 238 to move ahead 3-1.  ASU closed out the match in game five, 174-139.

Valparaiso (39-31) returns to action next weekend at the Kutztown Invitational in Reading, Pa.  The three-day tournament gets underway Friday at 10 a.m. CST.