The #17 Valparaiso bowling team opened play at the Columbia 300 Music City Classic in Smyrna, Tenn. on Friday, hosted by Vanderbilt. The Crusaders went 0-5 on the first day of play, facing opponents all ranked among the nation’s top-13 teams.
Valpo opened the day, contested in the five-game baker format, against #9 UW-Whitewater and found itself behind the eight-ball early. The Crusaders were down 85 pins after just two games, and despite a 212-167 fifth game, Valpo fell in the opener 1011-926. Valpo looked to be in better shape against #4 Central Missouri, utilizing games of 236 and 203 to pull ahead by 50 pins after three games, but the Jennies out-scored the Crusaders by 17 pins in game four and then bested Valpo 218-168 in the finale to pull out a 984-967 win.
The third match of the day saw Valpo taking on #11 McKendree, and while the Crusaders finished the third game with a 29-pin lead, they couldn’t hold on to the advantage, eventually falling 942-919. Valpo then found itself out-scored in nine of the 10 games over its final two matches of the day, losing 1032-934 to #13 St. Francis (Pa.) and 984-944 to #10 North Carolina A&T.
Valparaiso (41-56) continues play at Vanderbilt on Saturday.