SMYRNA, Tenn. – Vanderbilt went 5-1 on the day and while the aggregate pin fall over the two days put them well down the leader board in 11th position, Coach John Williamson found a good reason for optimism after wins against No. 1 ranked Fairleigh Dickinson and No. 2 Arkansas State. Include Friday’s win over No. 3 Nebraska and Vandy was perfect versus the top three rated teams.
“Yesterday I was a little disappointed in our upperclassmen,” Williamson said, “but today they came to play. They gave us tremendous leadership and a huge boost in some tight matches. We made some mistakes against St. Francis to keep us from a perfect day (six missed makeable spares) but hopefully we will continue with momentum tomorrow and that can lead to something better in the future.”
One of the seniors who spurred things forward for the Commodores was Samantha Hesley, who pulled nearly a 180 degree turnaround from her Friday struggles to place fifth individually in the tournament.
“We had a lot of team energy today so it was much easier to bowl well,” the modest Hesley said, noting that 10 hours of sleep were helpful. “I was a lot more relaxed today; yesterday I was a bit too high strung.”
The Commodores confounding season-long habit of stumbling to underdogs continued. While taking down two of the nation’s giants, they were tripped up by a good St. Francis team but one not rated in the Top 20.