The #22 Valparaiso University bowling team closed out competition Sunday at its final regular season tournament, winning two out of three bracket matches on the last day of action at the Columbia 300 Music City Classic from Smyrna, Tenn.
Valpo opened bracket action, contested in the best-of-seven baker format, Sunday against #17 Monmouth. The Crusaders and the Hawks split the first five matches, as each squad won twice – including a 226 effort in game five from Valpo – and tied one game. But it would be Monmouth which came out on top, as the Hawks claimed each of the final two games to earn the win.
The Crusaders bounced back in their next match, taking down #RV Alabama State. Valpo trailed 2-1 through three games, but took games four and five to move ahead 3-2 before posting its best game of the day, rolling a 234 in game six to easily earn the victory.
Valpo closed the tournament against #18 Saint Francis (N.Y.) and would defeat the Terriers for a second straight day. Up two games to one, the Crusaders dropped games four and five to fall behind 3-2. But Valpo took advantage of rough games from SFC in the final two games, winning the final two contests by 32 and 21 pins to claim the 4-3 victory.
“We fought really hard today – when we were down in a match, the team really focused to get back into it,” said Crusader assistant coach Gabby Mayfield. “Being down in both matches that we won should be a confidence boost to our team, because they realize how good they are. Going into the conference tournament next week, we will be focusing on some key things that will be crucial to our success.”
Valparaiso (44-59) opens the Southland Bowling League Championship Saturday in Keener, La.