The #17 Valparaiso University bowling team remained perfect at the Virginia Union Invitational on Saturday from Midlothian, Va., winning all six of its matches as it retained first place in the team standings.
The Crusaders totaled 5,909 pins over Saturday’s six traditional team matches and ended the first two days of competition with 10,613 total pins, over 1,100 pins more than second-place Bowie State.
“Today was a very good day on the lanes,” said Crusader head coach Matt Nantais. “We started out very well, with a lot of players stepping up and performing at a very high level.”
Leading the way for Valpo over Saturday’s traditional matches were some stellar efforts from senior Katherine Sulaitis (St. Charles, Ill./East) and freshman Kendra Tryniski (Fulton, N.Y./Fulton). Sulaitis topped 190 in all six matches on Saturday, including five efforts of at least 200, in posting a 216.7 average on the day. Meanwhile, Tryniski opened the day with a 279 game – the third-best single-game score in Crusader history – and went on to average a 212.2 over the six matches.
Tryniski’s aforementioned 279 game led the way, while Sulaitis added a 224 effort, as the Crusaders opened the day with a 1036-939 win over Felician. Valpo then enjoyed the seventh-best team score in a traditional match in program history in the second match of the day, defeating Chowan 1059-725 as sophomore Aubree Trexler (Arcadia, Ind./Hamilton Heights) rolled a 248 and Tryniski and Sulaitis posted games of 202 and 200, respectively.
That trio again led the Crusaders as they downed Virginia State in match three, 1015-811. Trexler again paced Valpo with a 254, while Sulaitis rolled a 229 and Tryniski a 226. Tryniski would pace the Crusaders in their next match, as the freshman posted a 213 game in a 922-570 win over Livingstone.
Sulaitis and Tryniski again both broke 200 in a 956-849 victory over Mount Aloysius, as the senior recorded a 236 game and the freshman rolled a 216. Then, in the day’s finale, the Crusaders squeaked by Bowie State, 921-911, behind games of 221 from Sulaitis and 224 from junior Savannah Carr (Buckeye, Ariz./Youngker).
“In our last match, we had to make some changes as the lanes broke down, and some others stepped up,” said Nantais. “Katherine struck out in the 10th frame, and then Savannah got up and recorded a spare and a strike for us to win. We were actually down going into the 10th frame, so it was nice to see us fight back.”
Valparaiso (25-24) earned the top seed heading into Sunday’s bracket play to close out the tournament.
“If we bowl like we have all weekend, hopefully we will come home with the trophy,” said Nantais. “I’m just really proud of the way everybody performed today, and the way they continue to work together as a team – that’s the most important part.”