#15 Valparaiso returned to the lanes for the first time in competition in over two months on Friday, competing in the first of three days of action at the Mid-Winter Invitational in Jonesboro, Ark., hosted by Arkansas State.
The Crusaders went 2-3 in their five traditional matches on Friday and enter Saturday in 12th place out of the 15 competing teams, tallying 4,494 pins on the opening day. Nebraska leads the team standings with 5,114 pins.
Valpo opened the day, contested in the traditional team format, against #RV Alabama State and got off to a good start, earning a 938-901 win. Fifth-year senior Torrie Decker (Van Wert, Ohio/Van Wert [Robert Morris]) led the way in the opening victory with a 226 game. The Crusaders made it two straight wins by downing #20 Tulane in their next match, 949-905, led by a 203 effort from senior Sadie Jasinski (Franklin, Wis./Franklin).
That would be the final win of the day for Valpo, however. The Crusaders lost their next contest to host #3 Arkansas State, 951-885, and then couldn’t overcome a 266 game from Robyn Renslow as #6 Vanderbilt earned a 1038-952 win despite efforts of 232 by freshman Aubree Trexler (Arcadia, Ind./Hamilton Heights) and 207 by Decker. Valpo struggled home in its final match of the day, falling 850-770 to #RV UAB as no Crusader broke 172 in the losing effort.
“We started off really well today,” said Crusader head coach Matt Nantais. “The loss to Arkansas State was close until the last couple of frames, and Vanderbilt was close as well but they had their one girl shoot a 266 against us. I thought the last match, the team took our opponent for granted and didn’t commit to any shots made. Savannah Carr sat out all day until the last four games, came in and performed at a high level. Our schedule doesn’t get easier tomorrow, so we will see how we rebound.”
Valparaiso (23-24) continues action from Arkansas State on Saturday with five more traditional matches.