Bowling - Athletics
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Vincennes University Trailblazer Bowling Team
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TOURNAMENT: National Collegiate Team Match games
LOCATION: O’fallon, IL
The Trailblazer men headed to O'fallon Illinois this weekend for a Tier 1 event, National Collegiate Team Match Games. The tournament hosted a field of 27 teams. Ryan Benslay led the team effort on day 1 averaging just over 205 for his 6 game block. Right behind him was Tyler Perry edging a 200.6 average for his games. This left the team with a 13th place finish at the conclusion of day 1. Day 2 was set for 20 games in a baker format. Holding the anchor position for the day was Tyler Perry. The VU team averaged 185.95 as a team which aided them in moving up 2 positions and finishing 11th for the event.
This tournament was held at a center that is well known to play tricky due to all the friction the lane surfaces have . This created some difficulty for the guys both at the very beginning and end of the day on day 1. Spares were a highlighted area for needed improvement as always. When conditions become tough, you need to be able to rely on your spare game to get through and find good reaction again and that hasn't set in as the priority yet. Day 2 started out rough in all categories for the first set of baker games. However once we moved into the rest of the sets we managed things a little better. It just seemed we had that 1 game each set where some focus was lost and resulted in a score that negated all the work in the other games of that set. Mainly this weekend just showed a pattern that isn't being broken at home first like it should be.
PLAYER #GAMES AVERAGE
Ryan Benslay 6 205.3
Keaton Green 1 162
Connor Hickey 6 184.6
Tyler Lewis 6 195
Tyler Perry 6 200.6
Hunter Stevens 2 149.5
Joshua Taylor 2 163
Isaac Wake 1 151
TOURNAMENT: Leatherneck Classic
LOCATION: Moline, IL
This weekend the trailblazer bowling team headed to Moline, IL for the Leatherneck Classic. This event is one of the larger tier 2 events and typically has a very strong field which helps give teams a gauge on the seasons progress. With top 8 being the goal as there is a bracket for day 2, the men finished the first day in 12th place out of 43 teams. This left the VU boys 156 pins out of the cut line for the bracket. This was a very achievable goal considering the scoring pace was low. Leading our individuals after day 1 was sophmore Joshua Taylor averaging 196.8 over 6 qualifying games followed by junior Connor Hickey with 194.2 over 4 games. Day 2 was 16 baker games before the bracket was decided for the top 8. The VU boys started off a little sluggish and things only proceeded downhill from there. They averaged 166.3 over the 16 games which dropped them from 12th to 20th place out of the 43 team field.
This weekend was a real test that we did not pass. The conditions we bowled on were not easy and required patience and reasonable shot making and neither of these criteria were met. Often times when strikes are hard to come by it can lead the players to try and force them to come but only sacrifice good execution. Unfortunately this adds pressure to the "spare department" and takes away from execution there. This was the one-two punch that ultimately lead to where we finished. Overall our team has the ability to compete at the highest level but we have yet to really demonstrate this in competition. We have a 1 week break before heading to Fairview Heights, IL for the Team Match Games which is a tier 1. I'm hoping this break in the schedule will help clear some heads so we can come back and perform at the level we know we are capable of.
Other Players AVG
Ryan Benslay 4 games 187.2
Keaton Green 4 games 189.2
Tyler Lewis 3 games 184.6
Tyler Perry 6 games 192.0
Hunter Stevens 2 games 160.0
Isaac Wake 1 game 167.0
TOURNAMENT: Brunswick Southern Classic
LOCATION: Marietta, GA
The Trailblazers snagged a top 10 finish this weekend at the Brunswick Southern Classic in Marietta, Georgia. This was the second tier 1 tournament of the season and as always the competition is tough at these events. Day 1 began with a slow start and fighting the lane conditions but ended with the team clicking and jumping them 9 spots into 8th.Tyler Perry continues to be a topic of discussion as he claimed his 4th all-tournament team spot averaging 222.6 over 6 games this weekend placing third individually. Hunter Stevens (sophmore) got his first taste of a chance at an a.t.t. falling short by 12 pins and grabbing a 6th place finish averaging 217.5 for his 6 games. Day 2 presented us with 24 baker games to make up additional ground. As with early games day 1, day 2 saw the same struggle with making the right shots for the condition they were on. The day was described as, "a bit of a roller coaster" as the players put together many great games while lacking some execution in others which ultimately made it harder to make up the pins to raise the team in the standings. This lead the team to an overall better finish at a tier 1 while still leaving much to be desired in terms of performance.
Coaches Comments: While the team didn't finish where they would've liked I still seen key areas many of them work on being put into play which is crucial both in terms of trusting the process and gaining confidence in what they're doing. Like anything, when you are working on improving certain areas, some inconsistencies are expected when trying to get rid of old habits. While there is still much work to be done in the spare shooting department, I am confident this team has the ability to compete toe-to-toe with any team out there. As long as the learning continues both here and on the road, it will be no time at all until the Trailblazers put together a streak of solid events. In terms of the team "meshing", the end of day 1 is exactly the kind of energy levels that can be the difference in making it to the next level. Some may see that energy coming with good bowling and it does, however, it is just as effective when the team is in a slump and need to pull something out. Once that is recognized a little more I feel we will start filling in those gaps we've been missing during the events.
Other Players Stats
Joshua Taylor - 6 games - 196.3
Tyler Lewis - 5 games - 187.4
Connor Hickey - 5 games - 179
Isaac Wake - 1 game - 157
Keaton Green - 1 game - 139
TOURNAMENT: Brandon Burns Memorial Classic
LOCATION: Smyrna, TN
The boys in blue and gold made their way to Smyrna Tennessee for an all baker format tournament this weekend. This event was particularly important as it is a potential sectional site for VU and really allows the athletes to get a feel for the environment as well as a taste of an all baker format like sectionals will be. For those who may not know, baker bowling is when 5 players all bowl the same game, switching off every frame. After day 1 the trailblazer varsity was sitting in 6th place and the JV was 5th in their division. Day 2 included a small rally back for the varsity team as they made up some ground and finished 4th out of a 16 team field. The JV men managed to hold their 5th place finish through the 2nd day.
Coaches Comments: Baker Average - 193.47 (40 Games)
This should have been a tournament we gave a solid run in but poor execution and spare shooting held us back again this weekend. The condition we bowled on allowed scores to trend higher but combine the center characteristics with sub-par shot making and you get a hole to try and dig out of. I believe the mind-set going into the weekend and throughout the week was in the wrong area and we will need to refocus for the upcoming tier 1 in Atlanta this weekend if we want a chance to compete at the level we should be.
Baker Average - 193.47 (40 Games)
TOURNAMENT: Orange and Black Classic
LOCATION: Dayton, OH
Vincennes showed their true colors this weekend with a much better performance overall. The team stayed in the top 5 the entire time while even grabbing the lead a few times throughout the 5 qualifying games and 16 baker games on day 2. Tyler Perry once again showed us his experience and determination to go after it which lead him to his 3rd all-tournament team and another 1st place finish individually. The comment was made that, " He just keeps getting it done." and that has without a doubt shown true. Perry averaged 220.8 for 5 games which highlights him as one of college bowling's top players currently. Senior Tyler Lewis sniffed 1st place individually for a few games before transition struck which brought him to a 198.8 average for 5 games followed by Ryan Benslay averaging 196.8 (5 games). The team finished in 2nd place our of 38 teams for qualifying. This tournament we got to experience our first bracket format which was best of 5 baker games. We faced Concordia University who we overcame with a 3-1 victory. Up next we caught Lindenwood University where our run ended in a 3-1 loss and our gave us a 3rd-4th finish in the bracket. Our JV team fought back day 2 after being out of the bracket by over 200 pins and cut their deficit to just 45 pins. Not an easy feat by any means which just shows the learning continued.
This weekend was refreshing to see. Many teams struggled on this pattern while we managed to excel. There was still pins left out there and it's bitter sweet to be so close to our first win of the year. However, I believe this will only fuel the desire for improvement so we can take care of business at our next event in Smyrna ,Tennessee.
Other Players Stats
Hunter Stevens - 189.4(5 Games)
Tyler Lewis - 173.3 (3 Games)
Connor Hickey - 164.40 (5 Games)
Zach Mason - 174.40 (5 Games)
Keaton Green - 172.4 (5 Games)
Joshua Taylor - 163.6 (5 Games)
Michael Whiteside - 150.6 (5 Games)
Garrett Cartwright - 144.80 (5 Games)
TOURNAMENT: Midwest Collegiate
LOCATION: Milwaukee, WI
This was Vincennes University's first Tier 1 event of the season held in Milwaukee. Tier 1 tournaments bring high levels of competition as well as give the teams a good understanding of where they sit overall. Considered to be a higher scoring affair in the season schedule, we knew we had to look at throwing plenty of strike while still filling the frames with spares. Tyler Perry lead the team once again while grabbing a 2nd place finish individually averaging 231.6 for 6 games. Behind Tyler was Sophmore Joshua Taylor 218.5 for his 6 games followed by Ryan Benslay averaging 197 (6 games). This helped get the team to a 17th place finish out of 40 teams.
This tournament showed many things both positive and areas to be worked on. As a whole, the team showed some improvements in spare shooting but left more to be desired. We have a habit of shying away when the scores trend higher. In some respects it adds more pressure to perform which ultimately can tighten up the swings and cause players to try and force the strikes to come rather than focus on the process. A big part of the process is needing to see differences in ball reaction when moving pair to pair or even lane to lane. It's still very early in the season and a crucial part of competing is learning when we go to these events and I am sure that our players have done that every time we step out there.
Other Players Stats
Hunter Stevens - 193 ( 4 Games)
Tyler Lewis - 181.75 (4 Games)
Connor Hickey - 173.3 (3 Games)
Isaac Wake - 169 (1 Game)
LOCATION: Lafayette, IN
DATE: 9/29 - 9/30
The Vincennes University Men's bowling team tackled their first event of the season in Lafayette, IN. While day one showed some rust in competing on tough lane conditions, VU's Tyler Perry (Senior) still lead the entrire field individually grabbing his first all-tournament team award while averaging just over 210 for his 5 game block. Following behind Perry was fellow senior, Ryan Benslay averaging 193.4 (5 games) and freshman Isaac Wake 180.3 (3 games). Vincennes Varsity grabbed a 10th place finish out of the 18 team field.
Other Players Stats
Tyler Lewis - 173.3 (3 Games)
Connor Hickey - 162.00 (5 Games)
Hunter Stevens - 144.00 (4 Games)
Joshua Taylor - 171.6 (5 Games)
Keaton Green - 160.4 (5 Games)
Zach Mason - 144.00 (5 Games)
Michael Whiteside - 139.6 (5 Games)
Garrett Cartwright - 138.00 (5 Games)
With it being our first tournament of the season and my first year as head coach, I knew it was going to take more than just my words to convince the players what was needed to compete at the level we expect. Spares are an essential component in competing and seeing the actual statistics was going to be necessary in highlighting what improvements needed to be made. Our Varsity did a good job in keeping their composure while working through some of the rust. That is something we all talked about going into the tournament and I feel it helped save a few pins out there for us. For the JV team this was all a brand new experience as college bowling is a completely different animal from what they're use to. You could definitely see the nerves but I'm confident they gained the much needed knowledge to move forward.