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Valpo Enters Final Day at Big Red Invitational in Sixth Place
Ashley Busiel paced the Crusaders in each of their final two games Friday. (Aran Kessler)
Ashley Busiel paced the Crusaders in each of their final two games Friday. (Aran Kessler)

Friday, January 21, 2011

#13 Valparaiso battled against three of the nation’s top-six teams Friday afternoon at the Big Red Invitational in Lincoln, Neb. and enters the final day of tournament competition in sixth place out of the 10-team field.

Friday’s action, contested in the traditional format, opened with the Crusaders facing #6 Arkansas State.  Valpo got 200+ efforts from Natalie Cortese (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates [Central Missouri]), who rolled a Crusader Friday-best 235, and Krystyna Johnson (Montgomery, Ill./Oswego East [Delaware State]), who posted a 203.  But it would not be enough, as ASU claimed a 981-903 win to open the day.

The task only got tougher from there, as the Crusaders’ second contest of the day was against #1 Maryland Eastern Shore.  Valpo put forth a great effort, led by a 226 from Cortese and a 200 from Johnson, but the Hawks eked out a narrow 977-956 win over the Crusaders.

The third match was the charm for Valpo Friday, as the Crusaders claimed a 1018-991 win over #19 Minnesota State-Mankato.  Ashley Busiel (Elk Grove Village, Ill./James B. Conant [Harper College]) paced the Valpo effort with a 234, while the Crusaders also received a 216 from Johnson and a 201 from Cortese en route to the victory.  The day closed against #3 Nebraska, and the host Cornhuskers took a 1076-822 win.  Valpo was led in the finale by a 197 from Busiel.

“I was very happy with the effort today, because the ladies did a fantastic job of following up their strong performance on Thursday,” said Crusader head coach Shon Washington.  “All three losses today were to top-six opponents, and only the Nebraska match was truly decided before the final frame.  This is the team I was hoping to see this year and it was well worth the wait.  Day three should be an exciting finish to a very productive weekend.”

Valparaiso (38-29) enters Saturday’s final day of competition in sixth place and will take the lanes beginning at 8:15 a.m.