In a field which features eight of the nation’s top-10 teams and 13 top-20 squads in all, #9 Valparaiso ended day one of the UMES Hawk Classic in Millsboro, Del. in eighth place on Friday.
The Crusaders totaled 3,777 pins through their five matches on Friday, just 53 pins out of seventh place and only 119 pins outside the top-five. Host Maryland Eastern Shore holds the team lead with 4,275 pins, narrowly outpacing Fairleigh Dickinson (4,247 pins).
Valpo kicked off action on Friday, contested in the four-game baker format, against #15 Adelphi, but could not earn an opening win, dropping pins in each of the first three games en route to a 792-778 defeat. Next up for the Crusaders was #RV Monmouth, and Valpo responded with a win, out-scoring Monmouth in each of the four games in a 771-683 victory.
#7 Sacred Heart was next on the docket for the Crusaders, but they would fall in a low-scoring contest, 688-651. Valpo bounced back in the next match against #RV St. Francis (N.Y.), breaking 200 on three occasions, including its high game of the day of 230, in an 818-771 victory. The final match of the day saw the Crusaders fall 826-759 to #10 Stephen F. Austin, as Valpo was unable to overcome back-to-back games of 244 and 255 in the middle of the match from SFA.
Valparaiso (10-13) continues action at the three-day tournament with traditional team play on Saturday.