#6 Valparaiso closed out the Music City Classic, its final tournament before the 2012 NCAA Bowling Championships, in eighth place on Sunday in Nashville, Tenn. Senior Natalie Cortese (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates [Central Missouri]) earned one of six spots on the All-Tournament Team.
Seeded eighth after the first two days of competition, the Crusaders opened the best-of-seven bracket play on Sunday against the seventh-seeded team, #10 Stephen F. Austin. Valpo had no problem handling the Ladyjacks in the opener, winning the first two games 178-156 and 195-165 before posting impressive efforts of 258 and 223 to complete the sweep.
The win over Stephen F. Austin advanced the Crusaders to take on sixth-seeded #8 Sacred Heart, but Valpo would not have as much luck in its second match of the day. The Crusaders didn't roll a game worse than 181 against SHU and hit at least 190 in three of the four games, but Sacred Heart broke 200 in three of the four games to sweep Valpo.
The Crusaders closed out action from Nashville with a rematch against Stephen F. Austin, but the outcome wouldn't be the same as the opener for Valpo. The Crusaders got out to a 2-1 lead as the squads traded the first two games before a 166-157 decision Valpo's way in game three. But the Ladyjacks easily took the fourth game to even the match, and then the Crusaders dropped a narrow 184-181 decision in game five before eventually falling, 4-2.
Valparaiso (81-37) will now wait to learn its fate and see if it earns its first trip to the NCAA Bowling Championships, as the eight-team field will be revealed at 3 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, March 28 on NCAA.com.