The #22 Valparaiso University bowling team began its final tournament of the regular season on Friday, splitting six matches on the first of three days of action at the Columbia 300 Music City Classic in Smyrna, Tenn.
Valpo tallied 5,103 pins over six five-game baker matches on Friday, finishing the day in 24th position. LIU Brooklyn holds the team lead after day one with 5,897 pins, 45 pins up on Nebraska.
The opening day of action got off to a rocky start for the Crusaders, who dropped each of their first three matches. Valpo fell in the opener to Louisiana Tech, 828-796, and then suffered losses to #11 Maryland Eastern Shore (979-890) and #25 Jackson State (901-793).
The Crusaders bounced back, however, closing with three consecutive victories. An 892-824 victory over #RV Alabama State got Valpo into the win column on Friday, and the Crusaders followed with a win over their highest-ranked opponent of the day – a 927-898 triumph over #6 Central Missouri. Valpo finished off the opening day of competition by squeaking past Felician, 805-786.
Valparaiso (40-54) continues action from Vanderbilt’s tournament on Saturday with six traditional team matches.