LANSING, Mich. — Vanderbilt used a massive baker game to rally from behind and overpower Youngstown State to advance to the fourth round unbeaten at the NCAA Regional Friday.
The Commodores defeated Carthage and Youngstown by 2-0 mega-match scores and will now await Saturday morning’s consolation round match winner between Maryville and Youngstown. That contest that will be played at 2 p.m. CT. Should Vandy win that match, it advances to next week’s NCAA Final Four; should it lose that match, there would be a rematch as the tournament is double elimination.
“It wasn’t necessarily the cleanest day of bowling we’ve had but it was a good team effort,” head coach John Williamson said. “We made shots when we needed them, the energy in the settee was good and all in all a pretty good day.
“The girls stayed patient,” Williamson continued. “The lanes played a bit different in the afternoon and the girls trusted us and kept patient and in doing so, created some breathing room.”
The top-seeded Commodores opened play by easing by CCIW champion Carthage, winning the traditional game point, 1,047-917, and the 5-game baker point, 1,043-1,019. Vandy’s rotation produced balanced scoring; Amanda Naujokas led the way with a 225, Alyssa Ballard had a 197, Victoria Varano contributed a 218, Caroline Thesier had a 205 and Mabel Cummins added a 202. Vandy would cruise in the baker match with Paige Peters entering for Thesier in the second game.
Youngstown State, a morning winner over Maryville, would prove to be a formidable opponent – no surprise since the sixth-ranked Penguins had ousted Vanderbilt from the Southland Bowling League tournament two weeks ago.
The Commodores fell into a small hole in the early frames of the traditional point, plagued by three splits and a missed-makeable. However, the Dores steadied the ship over the last five frames with improved spare shooting and some timely strike-throwing. Thesier got back in the mix for Peters in the sixth frame.
Vanderbilt would go on to take the hard-fought traditional point, 1,018-991, with the All-American Cummins getting the front five and the closing four for a sturdy 245. Naujokas doubled in the 10th for a helpful 222 and Ballard cracked the 200 barrier with a 205, striking out in the final frame.
The baker games were as one would expect from two of the nation’s better teams. Youngstown grabbed a 25-pin lead after two games, but Game 3 is where the worm turned.
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