#2 Valparaiso went 4-1 on the opening day of competition at the Holiday Classic in Bessemer, Ala., finishing the day in fourth place. The Crusaders tallied 3,608 pins over Friday’s five matches, contested in the four-game baker format.
The Crusaders opened play Friday against Tulane, bowling their best game of the opening match in the first game, a 191. Tulane rolled a 194, however, to take a three-pin lead. But the Crusaders used their consistency to capture the opening match, as all four games were 180s or better as Valpo started off with a 736-696 win.
Valpo fell behind in its second match of the day as well, against #RV UAB, dropping 12 pins down after one game. But three straight games of 182 were enough to overcome the Blazers, as the Crusaders used a 39-pin advantage in game three to propel themselves to a 706-650 win. Valpo would suffer its first loss of the tournament in the next match, falling to #4 Arkansas State, 754-705.
A 192 game got the Crusaders out to a quick 33-pin lead over host #20 Alabama A&M in the day’s fourth match, but the Bulldogs fought back to within 12 pins with one game to go. But Valpo emphatically put the exclamation point on its strongest four-game set of the day, rolling a 231 in the final game for a 740-686 win. The Crusaders trailed yet again after one game in the day’s final match against Southern, but used a 54-pin advantage in game two to cruise to a 721-686 win.
Valparaiso (61-23) returns to action at the Holiday Classic on the second day of competition Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. CST.