#15 Valparaiso continued action from the Prairie View A&M Invitational in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, facing its most challenging single-day lineup of opponents since the Crusaders’ NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012.
Valpo went 1-4 on Saturday against a series of five opponents, all of which were ranked within the nation’s top-10 in the latest NTCA coaches poll. The Crusaders are in 12th place after the same day of action with 9,384 total pins, just six pins back of 11th position, while Fairleigh Dickinson leads the team standings.
Valpo opened play on Saturday, contested in the traditional team format, against #5 Sam Houston State, falling 1070-871. The Crusaders rebounded with a win over #8 Stephen F. Austin in their next match, earning a decisive 978-885 win behind games of 214 from sophomore Savannah Carr (Buckeye, Ariz./Youngker) and 212 by freshman Aubree Trexler (Arcadia, Ind./Hamilton Heights).
Carr would again break 200 in the Crusaders’ next match, but it wouldn’t be enough as Valpo fell 1102-900 to #4 Central Missouri. Fifth-year senior Torrie Decker (Van Wert, Ohio/Van Wert [Robert Morris]) rolled a 216 in Valpo’s next contest and junior Katherine Sulaitis (St. Charles, Ill./East) added a 202 game in a 1025-950 loss to #10 North Carolina A&T. The Crusaders closed the day against #2 Fairleigh Dickinson, dropping a 1150-979 decision despite games of 223 from Sulaitis and 220 from Decker.
“We didn’t have anybody step up today,” said Crusader head coach Matt Nantais. “Even though we’re improving in areas of our game, we’re still not performing in tournaments the way that we should be. In every match we're good through the first seven or eight frames, and then aren’t able to finish - I have to figure out what we have to do differently to be able to do that. I can't throw the ball for the players; they have to want it more for themselves. We have one game left before bracket play tomorrow to move up in the bracket, and I hope tomorrow morning our bowlers show up as the team I know they can be.”
Valparaiso (37-42) closes out action from Arlington on Sunday.