Led by the performance of fifth-year senior Torrie Decker (Van Wert, Ohio/Van Wert [Robert Morris (Ill.)]), the #15 Valparaiso bowling team opened up its season on Friday at the FDU NJ Jamboree by going 4-1.
The Crusaders totaled 4,657 pins over Friday’s five traditional matches to finish the day in tenth place out of the 26 competing teams. Valpo ended the day just 32 pins out of seventh position.
“We performed very well as a team today,” said Crusader head coach Matt Nantais. “Torrie looked the best today and was our most consistent bowler, but we were able to get everybody who traveled into at least one match to get some experience. I feel like everybody stepped up and supported each other in a good all-around team effort.”
Decker, one of two seniors on this year’s Crusader squad, enjoyed her finest day in a Valpo uniform on Friday. She finished the day averaging 217.2 over Valpo’s five matches, ranking fifth among all bowlers in the field. The senior broke 200 in each of the last four matches of the day, highlighted by a career-best game of 244 in a win over St. Francis (Pa.).
The Crusaders opened the day’s action against host #7 Fairleigh Dickinson and would suffer their only loss of the day to a hot FDU squad, falling 1063-885 despite a team-high game of 194 from senior Sadie Jasinski (Franklin, Wis./Franklin). Valpo rebounded in the day’s second match, toppling Adelphi 925-883 as Decker posted a 214 and junior Katherine Sulaitis (St. Charles, Ill./East) rolled a 217.
Decker’s career-best effort of 244 led the way as Valpo downed #10 St. Francis (Pa.) in its next match, 949-896. The Crusaders would cruise to the final two wins of the day, defeating Coppin State 957-723 on the backs of a 236 game from Decker and a 200 game by sophomore Savannah Carr (Buckeye, Ariz./Younger). The finale saw Valpo earn a 941-732 victory over Caldwell, led by a 227 from sophomore Carly Larson (Merrillville, Ind./Merrillville) and a 201 from Decker.
Valparaiso (4-1) continues action at the FDU NJ Jamboree on Saturday with six more matches.