In a field which includes seven of the nation's top-10 teams, #14 Valparaiso closed out the opening day of competition at the Prairie View A&M Invitational in Arlington, Texas in seventh place.
The Crusaders totaled 3,705 pins over Friday's five-pack of four-game baker matches, good for seventh in the 12-team field. Valpo enters Saturday just 83 pins shy of fourth position. Sam Houston State leads the team standings after day one with 3,961 pins.
Despite the solid pinfall total, it was a rough go of it on a match-by-match basis for the Crusaders on Friday, as they went 1-4. Valpo opened against #1 Arkansas State and fell behind from the get-go with games of 150 and 146, eventually falling by a 784-707 final. The Crusaders then led #5 Stephen F. Austin by eight pins after the opening game, but SFA broke 200 in each of the final three games in handing Valpo a 799-700 loss.
The Crusaders earned their lone victory of the day in the third match, opening with games of 235 and 201 in an easy 783-604 win over #RV Texas Southern. Valpo was within 15 pins of #8 Vanderbilt entering the final game of that match, but could not take advantage of a 167 finale from the Commodores, dropping a 770-756 decision. The Crusaders then lost their final match of the day to #10 Sam Houston State, 799-759, as after opening with a 221, Valpo followed with a 146 in game two to squander its advantage. The Crusaders were within three pins entering the final game, but a 247 from the tournament leaders bested Valpo's final game of 210.
Valparaiso (35-38) looks to move up the standings on Saturday in Arlington during the second of three days of competition.