January 10, 2024 – LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Vanderbilt edged Maryland-Eastern Shore to take third place at the Stormin’ Blue & White Vegas Classic Wednesday.
The closing win, by a 4-3 margin in best-of-seven play, concluded an otherwise frustrating day for the Commodores, who lost in earlier rounds to eventual champion Jacksonville State and runner-up Nebraska.
It was one of those bowling days for Vanderbilt, which was too often unable to make the key strike or spare when it was most needed. And that’s not even mentioning Nebraska’s sterling 300 game that snuffed out Vandy’s solid 222 effort that turned the match’s momentum.
Paige Peters and Alyssa Ballard were honored on the all-tournament team based upon their third and fourth place individual finishes Tuesday. But there were no aces Wednesday as no Commodore was throwing the ball with confidence.
Vanderbilt began the morning with a rotation of Haley Lindley, Amanda Naujokas, Ballard, Victoria Varano and Peters. Caroline Thesier was inserted early in that match, a 4-0 loss to Jacksonville State.
The lineup was reshuffled against Nebraska with Natalie Kent coming in for Thesier; midway in that contest the rotation order was changed up looking for a spark that briefly appeared with a 258-168 win in game four. That was just before the Huskers’ 300. The Commodores couldn’t double in the deciding sixth game while the Huskers managed a three-bagger to gain the deciding edge.
The win over Maryland-Eastern Shore was welcome but also ragged as both teams looked tired. At one stretch, Vandy struggled with games of 156-165-171 in succession.
Vanderbilt will be back in action Jan. 19 at the Northeast Classic, one of the nation’s biggest tournaments, in New Castle, Delaware.