Following a nearly two-month hiatus, the #14 Valparaiso bowling team returned to the lanes Friday at the Mid-Winter Invitational in Jonesboro, Ark., hosted by the nation's top-ranked team in Arkansas State.
The Crusaders split four five-game baker matches on Friday to finish the day with a 2-2 record. Their total pinfall of 4,541 pins has the Crusaders placed ninth out of 13 teams entering Saturday's action, a field which includes seven of the nation's top-10 teams.
Valpo opened action against Tulane on Friday and never trailed in its tournament-opening win, using a 211 game in the first of the five baker games and rolling at least a 210 in three games en route to a 981-909 win. The Crusaders were unable to get anything going against #8 Vanderbilt in their second match, as Vandy broke 200 in all five games in dealing Valpo a 1044-787 loss.
The Crusaders were on the brink of downing #3 Central Missouri in the day's third match, using a 255 game in the second game to take a commanding lead, one which was still 36 pins entering the final of the five games. But UCM out-scored Valpo in the final game 235-194 as the Crusaders fell by a narrow 1010-1005 margin. Valpo bounced back in its final dual match of the day to defeat UAB 882-804, and finished the day rolling a match without an opponent and posting a score of 886.
Valparaiso (20-25) continues the Mid-Winter Invitational with traditional team matches on Saturday.