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Extra Frame: Young VU women’s squad has solid showing at Crusader Classic

Updated: December 14, 2013 6:38AM



VALPARAISO — The young Valparaiso women’s bowling team had plenty of opportunities to compete with some highly ranked programs in the 14-team field at last weekend’s Crusader Classic at Inman’s. And head coach Matt Nantais was happy with what he saw from his squad.

Arkansas State, which led the tournament in total pins, defeated Nebraska in the championship match. The Crusaders were hovering in the middle of the field for most of the tournament before a 1-2 performance on Sunday landed them in 11th.

“We were in every match this weekend, but we just have to learn how to close out a match,” Nantais said. “The girls never gave up in any of the matches. They kept encouraging one another, and they all remained unselfish.

“We’re in the figuring-out phase right now because we are young, but I believe we have the potential to become a force in the second half of the season. The girls are all working hard; I like what I’m seeing.”

The Crusaders began Sunday by taking the highly ranked Cornhuskers to seven games before falling short 4-3. They followed that up with a tough loss to Alma College before coming back from an early deficit to defeat Prairie View A&M.

“Nebraska had the lane choice, and that played a big part in that seventh game,” Nantais said. “Alma got quite a few breaks, but the girls never gave up against Prairie and finished strong. It all came together in that last match.”

On Saturday, bowling six traditional team games, the team posted a total pinfall of 5,364 to end the day in ninth place. The Crusaders went 3-3 on Saturday.

Valparaiso opened the day with a 947-803 victory over UAB, led by a 227 game from sophomore Raychel Wolever. The team followed with a 967-956 victory over No. 6 Sam Houston State, as freshman Alyssa Meade rolled the Crusaders’ best game of the day, a 230.

VU also won its fourth match of the day, 932-912, paced by games of 222 from senior Jill Larson and 211 from Wolever. The Crusaders were defeating Nebraska going into the eighth frame of the deciding game but eventually fell short.

“We had good chemistry (on Saturday),” Nantais said. “We missed a few easy spares, but we bowled really well against the tough teams. One match we lost by one pin — a match we should have won. We threw about six pocket splits in two frames against Nebraska.”

On Friday, the Crusaders tallied 4,516 pins over six Baker game matches to finish seventh on the day. They opened with four-game sets of 722, 746 and 685, but were unable to win any of their first three matches.

The Crusaders then posted scores of 766 and 800 in back-to-back matches to earn a pair of victories, but were unable to finish the day with a .500 mark despite rolling a four-game set of 797 in the final match.



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