#15 Valparaiso kicked off the Kutztown Invitational on Friday from Reading, Pa., posting a 3-2 record on the opening day of action.
The Crusaders totaled 5,670 pins over Friday’s six matches, contested in the five-game baker format, and closed the day in 15th place in the 27-team field. Central Missouri leads the team standings after day one with 6,439 pins.
"Today was a much better day than we had last weekend," said Crusader head coach Matt Nantais. "We started out pretty well in our first two matches and then had a bye, which is always a challenge to keep your intensity up during. After the bye match, we came back and bowled pretty well. I thought as the day went on, we made really good adjustments, stayed aggressive on the shots and definitely improved our spare shooting from last week."
Valpo opened tournament play against Morgan State and found itself down by 17 pins after two games. A 206 effort in game three put the Crusaders on top, and with just a 10-pin advantage entering the final game, Valpo posted a 213 in the finale to cap a 931-865 win in the opener. The Crusaders got off to a good start in their second match, opening with a 216 against #RV Monmouth, and led by 92 pins after three games on their way to a 964-908 victory.
Valpo had a bye in its third match of the day and rolled a 902, followed by a 1025-912 loss against #17 LIU Brooklyn, as the Crusaders were topped in all five games. Valpo rebounded against #14 St. Francis (N.Y.), overcoming a 12-pin deficit after game one and cracking 200 in each of the final three games in a 991-882 win. The Crusaders closed the day with their second best match score of the day, but despite breaking 200 in three of the five games, Valpo could not overcome a 253 in the opener from #12 Sacred Heart, falling 1008-970.
Valparaiso (28-32) continues action from the Kutztown Invitational on Saturday with traditional team games.
"We just have to come out tomorrow and try to stay ahead of all the moves that we need to make, be aggressive, and make all of our spares - or at least leave makeable spares," said Nantais. "We were up and down in the standings today, but finished with two decent sets to put us in position to move into the top-10 before tomorrow finishes up."