The first tournament championship since 2015 for the Valpo bowling program came in dramatic fashion Sunday, as the Beacons rallied to take each of the final three games of a best-of-seven baker match against Marian to earn the title at the Peacocks Classic. Freshman Kaitlyn Cavender (New Baltimore, Mich./Anchor Bay) was named Tournament MVP as she posted the top scoring average in the tournament’s six traditional team matches.
How It Happened
- Sunday’s action began with one final traditional team match to set the final standings heading into bracket play. Entering the match with a 103-pin edge on the second-place squad, Valpo easily picked up a 925-794 victory over Carroll to remain atop the standings. Freshman Lilu Smith (Gahanna, Ohio/Lincoln) led the Beacons in the win with a 222, while sophomore Addy Bates (Cedar Park, Texas/Cedar Park) posted a 200 as well.
- The top-seeded Beacons were matched up against fourth-seeded Quincy in the first bracket match, and it would be all Valpo in the best-of-seven baker affair. Valpo broke 200 in all four games and won all four by at least 12 pins to cruise to the four-game sweep. The team’s 211 average in the victory was the fifth-best in program history in a best-of-seven baker match.
- The win sent Valpo into a title matchup with second-seeded Marian. Marian took game one by a slim four-pin margin, but the Beacons bounced back with a 28-pin win in game two. Results in favor of the Sabres in games three and four brought Marian within one game of the tournament championship.
- Valpo regrouped with a pair of big efforts, rolling a 234 in game five and a 216 in game six to top the Sabres in both and force the decisive seventh game.
- The Beacons got off to a huge start in the decider, opening the game with three consecutive strikes to earn an early 23-pin edge. Both teams were clean through the first half of the game, with Valpo holding a 26-pin lead through five frames.
- The critical juncture of the game came in the sixth frame, as Marian left it open while Valpo rolled the first of back-to-back strikes to push its advantage into the 40s. That was more than enough to win the game, the match and the championship for the Beacons, as Valpo was clean into the final frame to secure the victory.
Inside the Win
- This weekend’s win is the fifth tournament title in program history.
- Prior to today, Valpo’s last championship came at the Virginia Union Invitational in November 2015.
- Other tournament titles in program history came in February 2010 (Warhawk Classic), October 2011 (Greater Ozark Invitational) and November 2011 (Crusader Classic).
Inside the Tournament
- Valpo posted a 12-1 record over the tournament’s three days on its way to the title.
- Two Beacons earned spots on the All-Tournament Team, highlighted by Cavender’s Tournament MVP performance. The rookie posted an even 200 average over the six traditional team matches to earn top honors.
- Right behind Cavender was Smith, who nearly overtook her fellow freshman with the big performance Sunday morning. Smith’s 199.5 average was good for second place in the field and All-Tournament Team honors.
- Sophomore Isabella Palamaro (Thiells, N.Y./North Rockland) narrowly missed making it three Beacons on the All-Tournament Team, as her 190.5 average ranked sixth among bowlers who started all six traditional matches.
Valpo (33-30) will have one weekend away from competition before returning to action Feb. 4-6 at the Railsplitter Classic in Harrogate, Tenn.