Greyhound sports: Winter 2015 update

Men’s basketball preview

The 2014–15 UIndy men’s basketball team looks to build on the momentum generated from last year’s historic season.  The Greyhounds racked up 24 wins in 2013–14—the most in 50 years—on the way to their first-ever GLVC East Division title and an NCAA Tournament second-round appearance.

Reigning GLVC Coach of the Year Stan Gouard returns just two starters from last year’s team but brings in a number of other high-quality returners and transfers. Six-foot-seven-inch seniors Joe Lawson (15.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Brennan McElroy (9.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg) each started every game last season. Lawson was dubbed All-GLVC First Team last season while McElroy was a unanimous GLVC All-Defensive Team selection. Senior Kendall Vieke and juniors Jordan Loyd and Avery Harmon also return, while the remaining nine roster players come in as freshmen or transfers.  Senior Dai-Jon Parker headlines the latter group, as the two-year starter at D-I Vanderbilt averaged more than eight points, four rebounds, and three assists per game for the SEC school last season.

The team opened the season with an exhibition game at Indiana University Nov. 10, giving the Hoosiers all they could handle. Though they ultimately fell, 76–63, the Greyhounds led by as many as 11 points early and outscored the Hoosiers by one point in the second half, but in between endured a lengthy scoring drought that proved too much to overcome.

The 2014–15 slate includes four all-important regional games and a trip to Miami, Fla., before conference play kicks off in January. In what is arguably the toughest conference in Division II, the Hounds were picked third in the East in the GLVC Preseason Coaches Poll. UIndy welcomes arch-rival Bellarmine to Nicoson Hall on Jan. 15 and hosts in-state Saint Joseph’s in the regular season finale on Feb. 26. GLVC Tournament play begins with first-round action on campus sites March 1, while the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional starts March 14.

Track & Field preview

The Greyhounds will begin the 2014–15 indoor track and field season at home on Dec. 6 at the Gerry England Open. They finished up last year with a national champion in women’s discus with Tatiana Zhuravleva’s 56.10-meter throw that broke the school record. Returning for the Hounds are All-Americans Lissette Mendivil, who finished second in women’s discus, and Josh Bass, who finished third in men’s long jump. Other returning national qualifiers include Farin Hickman in weight throw and hammer, LaTisha Martin in the 400-meter dash, and Alex Cushman in the 10,000 meters.

Wrestling preview

The 2014–15 UIndy wrestling team features three returning national qualifiers, along with 20 newcomers to its roster for the season. After posting the program’s best  finish at the NCAA Division II National Championships, finishing in eighth place a season ago, the Greyhounds will look to an almost completely new lineup for success. This is the sixth year as head coach for Jason Warthan ’01. UIndy also won its first NCAA Division II Super Region #2 championship last year and had four senior All-Americans (Alex Johns, 125; Cameryn Brady, 149; Jeff Weiss, 165 and Evan Wooding, 285) at the national meet to lead to the eighth-place finish. Returning 2012 All-American Josh Kieffer will move back down to the 125-pound weight class after becoming a national qualifier for the second time at 133 a season ago. Kieffer enters the season ranked fifth in NCAA Division II at 125, while his brother Justin, a two-time national qualifier for the Greyhounds, is ranked sixth at 141. Sophomore Shelden Struble, a national qualifier at 157 a season ago, also returns for UIndy, moving up to 174 for the 2014–15 season.

Men’s soccer

Mens-soccer-teamThe UIndy men’s soccer team (at left), led by head coach John Higgins ’08, made program history in 2014, winning the team’s first-ever Great Lakes Valley Conference championship. The Greyhounds, who finished the year with a 12–5–3 record, upset both #17 Drury and #3 Quincy en route to the title, which was won over top-seeded Quincy in Quincy, Ill., on Nov. 9, with a 3–1 victory. Higgins is the only UIndy coach to lead a men’s soccer team to a GLVC final, which he has now done three times, winning it for the first time this season. Previously, UIndy had been in the GLVC Men’s Soccer Championship Tournament final in 2010 and in 2013.

Women’s tennis

UIndy sophomore Stephanie Hirsch made history in September when she won the 2014 USTA/ITA Midwest Regional singles tournament in Allendale, Mich., becoming the first Greyhound to win the event since Pamela Rodriguez in 1997. In the first round of the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships, Hirsch won 6-4, 6–3 over Southwest Baptist’s Christina Zentai, who had been a remarkable 48–1 entering the match (her previous defeat came in the 2013 NCAA Tournament). Hirsch finished fourth at the national tournament.

Football

The UIndy football team secured its third consecutive Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship with a 7–1 conference record, part of a 9–2 overall mark. The Greyhounds were led by GLVC Offensive Player of the Year Reece Horn and GLVC Special Teams Player of the Year Scott Miller. Horn and Miller were two of 14 Hounds to garner all-conference accolades, the most in the league. Horn finished third in the school’s single-season annals in receiving touchdowns (12), fifth in receiving yards (1,046) and sixth in receptions (68), while Miller goes down as the school’s all-time leading scoring (342 points) and most accurate field goal kicker (79 percent). The highlight of the season came in front of 6,033 fans at Key Stadium and thousands more nationwide as the Hounds topped rival Saint Joseph’s, 36–33, in the CBS Sports Network D-II Game of the Week. Miller delivered a game-winning 35-yard field goal in quadruple overtime to seal the win. The event matched the longest contest in program history as well as the first time UIndy football was nationally televised.

The Greyhounds also had a successful Homecoming performance. Capping a week jam-packed with festivities, the Hounds orchestrated a decisive 52–14 win versus GLVC-newcomer Lincoln University. Seven Hounds got in the scoring column as quarterback Connor Barthel threw for 225 yards and four touchdowns. UIndy’s group of 15 seniors helped set new school records for wins (36) and winning percentage (.766) over a four-year span.

—Compiled by Ryan Thrope, Jackie Paquette, and Kyle Piercy