VALPARAISO, Ind. – Arkansas State won the Crusader Classic title Sunday afternoon after compiling an 11-4 record during the three-day tournament.
A-State entered the bracket play portion as the fourth seed and faced Vanderbilt in an epic match for the right to go to the championship. Vandy took game one by a score of 189-177 before the Red Wolves bounced back to win game two 181-170. Vanderbilt won game three 237-163, but Arkansas State responded with two consecutive wins in Game 4 and Game 5 (208-195). The sixth game finished in a 216-216 tie and A-State held a 3.5-2.5 lead, but the Commodores won game seven 203-197 to tie the match at 3.5-3.5. To break the tie, the teams bowled a five-frame modified Baker format and the teams tied the first tiebreaker by a score of 107-107, but A-State claimed the second tiebreaker by a score of 129-97 to advance to the championship.
“We’ve had trouble getting over the hump and we got over the hump pressure wise against Vanderbilt,” A-State women’s bowling coach said. “Going into the tiebreaker is big time pressure on the girls and all five girls hit the pocket so I’m proud of them. If you lose like that in the tiebreaker, it’s a huge heartbreaker and would have been hard to bounce back from.”
The Red Wolves squared off against Nebraska in the championship match and A-State jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead after winning Game 1 199-187 and Game 2 224-170. The Cornhuskers took Game 3 245-189, but Arkansas State won game four 186-157 to take a 3-1 advantage. The Red Wolves topped Nebraska 194-155 in Game 5 to clinch the title.
“We’ve struggled getting wins on Sundays recently, so it was nice to get some wins [Sunday],” Kostick added. “It was really nice to get the tournament title, and defeating my alma mater Nebraska is always a good feeling.”
A-State faced Sam Houston State in its first match of the day and this match was held so every team would get a chance to face every other team in the tournament at least once. ASU lost the first game 255-213, but won the next three games by scores of 211-204, 179-169, and 189-146 to take a 3-1 advantage into Game 5. The Bearkats reeled off three straight wins by scores of 213-189, 212-156, and 214-199 to come back and defeat the Red Wolves 4-3.
“We were up 3-1 against SHSU and we have to win that one,” added Kostick. “We had them beat, but we missed some spares and you can’t miss them. I talk to the girls about it after the match and they took it to heart by their play the rest of day.”