Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Set For Second Season of Competition
Natalie Cortese is the Crusaders' top returning bowler for 2010-2011. (Ray Acevedo)
Natalie Cortese is the Crusaders' top returning bowler for 2010-2011. (Ray Acevedo)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Last year, the Valparaiso bowling program went on a run that few thought possible for a program in its first season of competition, ending the season ranked #10 in the country.  With seven of their top eight bowlers back for the 2010-2011 campaign, the expectations have been raised for the Crusaders this season and the goal is simple: be one of the eight teams invited to the 2011 NCAA Bowling Championships.

Shon Washington is in his first season as head coach of the Crusaders, but is no stranger to the program, as he spent the 2009-2010 season as an assistant coach under Stephen Anthony.  Washington brings plenty of experience with him on the lanes, as he was the head women’s bowling coach at Calumet College for four seasons, leading the Crimson Wave to a #14 ranking nationally at the end of the 2007-2008 season.  He also served eight years as the head girl’s bowling coach at Lake Central H.S., guiding the Lady Indians to three state titles.

Washington has plenty of returnees at his disposal, as Valpo’s top-three bowlers and seven of its top-eight bowlers from a season ago return for the 2010-2011 season.  The group helped the Crusaders to a 68-46 record in its first season of competition, as well as five top-five tournament finishes.

Leading the Crusaders, who were ranked 11th in the nation in the NTCA preseason poll released earlier this week, into the 2010-2011 campaign is junior Natalie Cortese.  Cortese was named a Brunswick/NTCA Second Team All-American last year, posting a team-high average of 195.5 over 52 traditional games.  She registered 22 games over 200, including a season-best 290 game at the Greater Ozark Invitational on Oct. 24.  Cortese would go on to earn Tournament MVP honors at the Greater Ozark Invite, averaging a 224.8, and later went on to earn Tournament Co-MVP accolades at the Kutztown Invitational in late January, where she averaged a 220.7.

Brunswick All-Academic Third Team honoree Amanda Cortese also enters her junior season in 2010-2011 after averaging a 186.0 over 49 games a season ago.  Fellow junior Krystyna Johnson finished last year with the Crusaders’ third-best average, posting a 183.0 over 48 games.  Johnson rolled 17 games of 200 or better as a sophomore, while Cortese tallied 14 such games.

Redshirt sophomore Ashley Busiel was also a regular on the lanes for the Crusaders in their inaugural season, ending the year with a 174.1 average over 40 games, including five 200+ efforts.  Junior Jessica Guertin posted a 172.3 average over 28 games for Valpo a year ago, rolling three games of 200 or better.  Sophomores Lisa Janasik and Morgan Sharp also return for the 2010-2011 season after gaining valuable experience in their rookie years.

Washington also has a good number of talented newcomers to turn to as well, as six new faces join the seven returnees this year.  Sophomore Katie Shumaker joins the Crusaders after spending her freshman year at Maryland Eastern Shore, while Alyssa Alvarez, Kaity Galka, Jill Larson, Nicole Sanhamel and Charlotte Schiepe comprise the quintet of freshmen that round out the Valpo roster.

As they did last season, the Crusaders will challenge themselves with a schedule in 2010-2011 that pits them against the nation’s upper echelon of programs week in and week out.  Valpo hosts the second annual Crusader Classic this year at Stardust Bowl II in Merrillville Nov. 12-14, while six of the Crusaders’ other seven regular-season tournaments are at teams ranked within the preseason top-10.  The end goal is to earn one of the eight berths, all of which are at-large selections, into the 2011 NCAA Bowling Championships, scheduled for April 14-16 in Detroit, Mich.

W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay