The #17 Valparaiso University bowling team returned to action for the first time in nearly a month Friday at the Warhawk Invitational in Whitewater, Wis.
The Crusaders tallied 4,677 pins over Friday’s five matches, contested in the five-game baker format, to finish the day in seventh place.
Valpo opened the tournament against #6 McKendree and found itself up 47 pins through three games as the Crusaders began with three consecutive games of 203 or better. But McKendree chopped 14 pins off the lead in game four and then posted a 254 in the fifth game as the Crusaders suffered a hard-luck 1037-995 defeat.
The Crusaders continued against #12 St. Francis (Pa.) in a hard-fought match. Valpo trailed by 35 pins through three games, but despite besting the Red Flash in each of the final two games, could not complete the comeback, falling 895-886. Valpo was up by 16 pins through four games in its next match, taking on #8 Stephen F. Austin, but a 227-188 final game sent the Crusaders to a 964-941 loss.
Three games of 200 or better against #2 Nebraska in Valpo’s next match would go for naught, as the Cornhuskers led start to finish in a 1045-961 win. The Crusaders trailed start to finish in their final match of the day as well, falling to #21 Tulane 940-894.
“It was a tough day on the lanes for us today,” said Crusader head coach Matt Nantais. “We were in every match until the fifth game. We need to trust the moves we’re making to close out matches. We’ll come back tomorrow and hope to make it a better day.”
Valparaiso (35-45) continues action from Whitewater on Saturday with the second of three days of action.