The #17 Valparaiso University bowling team finds itself atop the team standings following the opening day of action Friday at the Virginia Union Invitational in Midlothian, Va. The Crusaders totaled 4,704 pins over their five five-game baker matches Friday to top the standings.
"I'm happy that we're leading the tournament after the first day - it was nice to see the way our bowlers bounced back after a few rough matches," said Crusader head coach Matt Nantais. "We still left quite a few pins on the lane, and we will work on making better shots tomorrow. But overall today, I thought we had great team chemistry and were very supportive of each other."
Valpo opened the tournament with a bye, rolling an 882 in its first baker match. The Crusaders then took on Hampton, earning a narrow 13-pin lead after game one before exploding for three games of 218 or better in the last four, highlighted by a fifth game 246 to close out a 1038-868 victory.
Valpo then downed host Virginia Union in its third match of the day by an 836-667 final, besting VUU in all five games, and took down St. Augustine’s, 987-737, with three games of 209 or better. The Crusaders found themselves trailing for the first time all day after game one of their last match, as St. Peter’s jumped out to a 24-pin lead, before rallying with four straight games at or above 187 en route to a 961-839 win.
Valparaiso (19-24) continues action from Virginia Union on Saturday.
"Tomorrow, we'll come out, bowl three matches in the morning and then three more in the afternoon," said Nantais. "Hopefully we will keep the lead we currently have, and go into Sunday's bracket as the top seed."