#15 Valparaiso finished up the sixth annual Crusader Classic at Inman's on Sunday, placing tenth in the final bracket.
The Crusaders started the day with one final match contested under the traditional format, as each team faced every other competing team prior to the start of bracket play. Valpo had a solid match against #3 Sam Houston State, led by a 217 game from fifth-year senior Torrie Decker (Van Wert, Ohio/Van Wert [Robert Morris (Ill.)]), but it wasn't quite enough as the Crusaders fell 972-951.
Valpo was seeded ninth in the 14-team field entering bracket play and drew #RV Tulane in the first round, contested in the best-of-seven baker format. The Crusaders dropped the first two games, but efforts of 202 and 238 evened the match at two games apiece. Tulane pulled ahead 3-2 with a three-pin win, but Valpo claimed game six and then posted a 200 game seven to earn the 4-3 win.
That would be the Crusaders' last win of the tournament, however. Sam Houston State swept Valpo in four straight games, and then Tulane claimed the victory in the rematch by a 4-2 final, as the Crusaders were unable to break 190 in the finale of bracket play.
The nation's top-two teams met in the bracket championship, with #1 Nebraska defeating #2 Arkansas State 4-1 to claim the Crusader Classic crown. The Huskers also won the Crusader Classic in 2010, making them the first two-time tournament champion. Nebraska's Liz Kuhlkin edged out Alma's Jessica Cords, 212.6-212.1, for the tournament's top individual average.
Valparaiso (18-12) will head to Lincoln, Neb. next week for the Big Red Invitational. The three-day tournament begins on Thursday, Nov. 13.