A narrow 22-pin defeat was the only thing that stood between #14 Valparaiso and an undefeated opening day at the Kutztown Invitational in Reading, Pa. on Friday, as the Crusaders closed the day in sixth place out of the 26 competing squads.
The Crusaders totaled 4,580 pins over Friday’s six matches as they were consistent throughout the day, averaging at least a 184 per game in all six contests. Valpo closed the day just five pins out of fifth position, while UW-Whitewater holds the team lead with 4,911 pins after day one.
Valpo opened Friday’s action, contested in the four-game baker format, by taking on #17 St. Francis (N.Y.) and never trailed en route to a 743-684 win. The Crusaders used a game of 213 in game two to extend their lead to 83 pins, allowing them to hold off a St. Francis rally in game three. Valpo then made it two straight wins with a 756-602 victory over Penn State-Altoona, breaking 200 in two of the four games.
The Crusaders cruised to victories in their next two matches, defeating New Jersey City by a 739-474 final and then Mt. Aloysius by a score of 783-480. Valpo closed the win over Mt. Aloysius with its best single game of the day, rolling a 231, while its 303-pin margin of victory was the second-largest win in a four-game baker match in program history.
Valpo battled #4 Fairleigh Dickinson in the fifth match of the day, jumping out to a 34-pin lead after game one thanks to a game of 203. FDU erased the deficit over the next two games to send the match to the fourth game all square, and despite a game of 192 from the Crusaders in the finale, Valpo would fall 772-750 for its lone loss of the day. The Crusaders rebounded with their best four-game set of the day to close out Friday’s action, besting #13 Adelphi by at least 22 pins in all four games in an 809-698 win.
Valparaiso (28-31) continues action at the Kutztown Invitational on Saturday with traditional team matches.