BESSEEMAR, Ala. –- Arkansas State won its second tournament of the year, defeating Central Missouri and Vanderbilt on the final day of competition at the Holiday Classic hosted by Alabama A&M on Sunday.
The victory actually marked the first time this season that ASU has won a tournament on Sunday. Its previous victory at the Big Red Invitational concluded on a Saturday. Sunday’s win is also the seventh consecutive time A-State had finished third or better in a tournament this season.
|STUDENT OF THE GAME|
Justin Kostick has grown up in a bowling family. That lifetime of knowledge is paying big for an Arkansas State program that’s garnering respect.
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“It feels good to finally get that win on Sunday,” ASU coach Justin Kostick said. “We’ve been in every tournament we have played in this year and to finally close out a victory on Sunday feels really good.”
In the championship match against Vanderbilt, the Red Wolves battled the Commodores and tough lane conditions. The right lane proved to be the better lane and A-State used that to its advantage after winning the sixth game and having its choice of lanes for the final game.
“The right side had proven to be the better scoring throughout the match,” Kostick said. “The left side was tight on scoring all day and we went with the right side in the final game and it paid off.”
In the seventh game ASU bested Vanderbilt 223-200 to edge the Commodores 4-3 in the match. A-State opened the match with a 211-190 loss, but bounced back to even the match at 1-1 with a 232-191 victory. Vanderbilt responded with a 188-156 win, but the Red Wolves again tied the match with a 211-187 win in game four. The Commodores won game five 214-162, but ASU rallied in game six for a dominating 268-200 to force the decisive seventh game.
In the day’s opening match against Central Missouri, the Red Wolves faced a similar path to victory. A-State needed seven games to defeat Central Missouri and again Kostick choose the right lane in the seventh game because scoring conditions have proved better on the right side. ASU defeated the Jennies 279-157 in the seventh game to move on the championship game against Vanderbilt.
Sophomore Ashley Rucker was named to the all-tournament team for the second time this season after finishing the fourth in the individual standings with a 211 average. The Red Wolves improved to 68-20 on the year and pushed their winning percentage to .773 percent on the season.