The #15 Valparaiso bowling team wrapped up action at the Mid-Winter Invitational in Jonesboro, Ark. this weekend, finishing in eighth place out of the 16 competing teams. Freshman Raychel Wolever (Charlotte, Mich./Charlotte) earned All-Tournament Team accolades after ranking third in the tournament field in individual average.
The Crusaders went 3-2 on Saturday, setting themselves up to enter Sunday seeded seventh for bracket play. The traditional matches on Saturday started with a showdown with #1 Central Missouri, but despite a 212 from redshirt sophomore Alyssa Alvarez (Antioch, Ill./Antioch), Valpo fell by a 1032-894 score. Led by a 202 from Wolever, the Crusaders matched the 894 score in their next match against Elmhurst, ending the contest in an 894-894 tie. Valpo captured the modified baker format tiebreaker, 84-82, to earn the win.
The Crusaders made it back-to-back wins with one of the top-five traditional match performances in program history, downing Texas Southern 1076-886. Fifth-year senior Ashley Busiel (Elk Grove Village, Ill./James B. Conant [Harper College]) matched the third-best single-game score in team history with a 278 in the win, while Wolever added a 254 as well. Despite a 203 from Busiel, the Crusaders dropped their next match, falling 970-924 to #9 UW-Whitewater, but in the finale, a 274 from Wolever (fifth-best single-game score in program history) propelled Valpo to a 1036-760 romp over Louisiana Tech. Wolever ended traditional play with a 221.8 average to earn All-Tournament honors.
Valpo entered Sunday's bracket play seeded seventh thanks to a total pinfall of 9,394 pins through two days. The Crusaders would fall in the best-of-seven baker opener against #4 Sam Houston State, seeded eighth, four games to one, losing each of the first three games. Valpo bounced back, breaking 200 in three of five games in a 4-1 win over #RV Alabama A&M, punctuated by a 205-204 clinching game, but would then drop the tournament finale to Sam Houston State, 4-2.
Valparaiso (27-33) has next weekend off before returning to action at the Kutztown Invitational in Reading, Pa. The three-day event begins Friday, Jan. 25.