The #11 Valparaiso bowling team enters the final day of competition with a shot at the Greater Ozark Invitational championship after closing the second day of action Saturday in third place in the 10-team tournament field.
Rolling in the traditional five-bowler format Saturday, the Crusaders kicked off action against #17 Minnesota State-Mankato. Valpo actually posted its best score of the day against the Mavericks, with junior Natalie Cortese (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates [Central Missouri]) rolling a 245 and freshman Kaity Galka (Dyer, Ind./Lake Central) posting a 226 to lead the way. But the Crusaders eventually suffered a narrow 1025-994 defeat in the opener.
The Crusaders rebounded in a big way, edging tournament host #5 Central Missouri in their second match, 940-932. Galka paced Valpo against the Jennies with a 219 game, while junior Amanda Cortese (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates [Central Missouri]) rolled a 204 against her former squad. Cortese would follow with another 204 in Valpo’s next match, but the Crusaders dropped a 961-935 decision to #RV Prairie View A&M.
Natalie Cortese registered a 224 game in the fourth contest of the day to go along with a 207 game from sophomore Katie Shumaker (Trafford, Pa./Penn-Trafford [Maryland Eastern Shore]) as Valpo defeated #RV Stephen F. Austin, 945-903. Amanda Cortese closed the day with her third 200+ effort, recording a 224 game in the finale, but the Crusaders fell in their positional round matchup against Prairie View A&M, 939-842.
Valparaiso (6-4) is actually tied with Central Missouri in the tournament standings, leading to a matchup to kick off Sunday morning. The Crusaders can capture the tournament championship with three straight victories on Sunday, with bowling slated to begin at 8 a.m.