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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Bowling: Vanderbilt finishes eighth at Music City Classic

The Commodores fell short of expectations at their home tournament.
Vanderbilt Athletics
No. 4 Vanderbilt finished in eighth place at the Music City Classic. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

This past weekend, No. 4 Vanderbilt Bowling finished in eighth place at the Music City Classic in Smyrna, Tennessee. Featuring a whopping 33 teams, the Commodores’ home tournament is the final regular season tournament of the year and one of the largest.

“It wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for,” senior Caroline Thesier said. “But I think we learned a lot at the perfect time moving into [the] postseason.”

Vanderbilt opened the tournament with a slate of four Baker matches on Friday, March 15. With an average of 202.55 pins per game, the Commodores overwhelmed Central Missouri, Wright State, Marian and No. 20 McKendree.

The Black and Gold got out to a slower start on Saturday as they faced their first real challenges of the weekend: No. 5 North Carolina A&T and No. 3 Youngstown State. After the Aggies bested the Commodores 1,066-997, the Penguins did the same by a score of 1,073-950. The Commodores found a rhythm in their remaining matches, managing to eclipse 1,000 pins in each and defeat No. 7 Louisiana Tech, Prairie View A&M and Carthage.

Despite boasting a healthy 200.9 pin-per-game average, the Commodores found themselves out of championship contention as they entered the final day. A title appearance necessitated a top-four seed. Vanderbilt finished pool play in sixth.

With third as high as the Commodores could finish at their own home tournament, the team looked deflated as they took on No. 2 Arkansas State. After winning game 1 of the best-of-seven series, the Black and Gold dropped two straight. Late game heroics from sophomore Victoria Varano tied game 4 at 192 apiece, but the Red Wolves closed out the series with comfortable wins in games 5 and 6.

“I thought the back half of game 4 against Arkansas [State] … was pretty deflating,” head coach John Williamson said. “From that point on, we were at best uninterested in being here. Our performance wasn’t great.”

Now fighting for fifth place, the Commodores faltered in the opening game of a rematch with Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs got off to a 2-0 start before freshman Haley Lindley — bowling in the all-important anchor spot — stepped up to hit just enough pins to give the Commodores a 223-222 victory in game 3.

Despite Lindley’s performance, the Commodores couldn’t find a way back into the series, ultimately losing in five games. With the series loss, the Commodores moved into contention for seventh place with a remaining match against No. 15 Maryland – Eastern Shore.

After a blowout loss in game 1, Vanderbilt recovered with seven strikes in game 2 en route to a series-tying victory. The Shore Hawks recaptured the lead in game 3 and were the benefactors of three late-game opens from the Commodores in game 4. Despite narrowing the deficit to 3-2 after a victory in game 5, the Commodores fell in an uncompetitive game 6, 237-184.

“We’re going to have to find a toughness we didn’t display today, and in some ways we haven’t displayed this year,” Williamson said. “I think it’s in them, but we have to find it.”

With the series loss, Vanderbilt finished in eighth place at their home tournament. As the last regular season competition of the season, the weekend concluded with a touching tribute to Vanderbilt’s three seniors: Thesier, Amanda Naujokas and Jennifer Loredo.

“To have your teammates behind you and everyone clapping, it’s really nice to share that moment with your classmates and celebrate everything we’ve been able to accomplish,” Thesier said.

Vanderbilt will be back in action at the first-ever C-USA Championship in Harahan, LA from March 22-24.

Baker Match Scores:

Vanderbilt defeats Central Missouri 958-908

Vanderbilt defeats Wright State 1,060-975

Vanderbilt defeats Marian 1,059-826

Vanderbilt defeats McKendree 974-729

Traditional Match Scores:

North Carolina A&T defeats Vanderbilt 1,066-997

Youngstown State defeats Vanderbilt 1,073-950

Vanderbilt defeats Louisiana Tech 1,053-985

Vanderbilt defeats Prairie View A&M 1,006-865

Vanderbilt defeats Carthage 1,057-809

Baker Bracket Scores:

Arkansas State defeats Vanderbilt 4.5-1.5

Louisiana Tech defeats Vanderbilt 4-1

Maryland – Eastern Shore defeats Vanderbilt 4-2

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About the Contributor
Jayce Pollard
Jayce Pollard, Non-revenue Sports Specialist
Jayce Pollard (‘25) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in public policy and economics and minoring in data science and Spanish. Outside of writing for The Hustler, you can catch Jayce trying to learn the rules of soccer, hating on the Arkansas Razorbacks and being chronically on Twitter. He can be reached at [email protected]
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