Fall 2015 Sports Preview

 

Previews: Football

Reece-HornThe three-time defending-GLVC-champion UIndy football team kicks off the 2015 season with its earliest home opener since 2011—a Thursday night match-up versus in-region Saginaw Valley State on Sept. 3. Coming off a 9-2 record a year ago, the Greyhounds return 16 starters (nine offensive, seven defensive) this season, including senior wide receiver and 2014 GLVC Offensive Player of the Year Reece Horn (pictured).

A highlight of the non-conference slate comes in week two when UIndy travels across town to face NAIA-power Marian University on Sept. 12. Though the two schools are just 11 miles apart, the contest, which has been dubbed the “Monumental Matchup,” will mark the first-ever meeting between the Greyhounds and the Knights.

Cross country

Alex-CushmanThe UIndy cross country team welcomes back Alex Cushman (pictured) to the roster in 2015. Prior to redshirting last year, Cushman became the first UIndy men’s runner to qualify for the NCAA Division II Championship since 2000. The Fort Wayne, Ind., native took third at the 2013 Midwest Regional before placing 49th at the championship meet.

Last season, the Greyhound women placed fourth at the GLVC Championship, while the men finished fifth. Senior Haley Halvert (11th at conference) and senior Joel Keller (14th) represent the teams’ top returners.

Volleyball

Hailey-BrownThe UIndy volleyball squad seeks its ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth in 2015, led by third-year head man Jason Reed. The Greyhounds have the unique opportunity of hosting a tournament near the beginning of the season, Sept. 10–12, featuring several perennial powers. The Hounds face three 2014 NCAA participants, including Elite Eight qualifier Wheeling Jesuit, Central Region top seed Minnesota-Duluth, and South Central two-seed Colorado School of Mines. Afterward the 18-match Great Lakes Valley Conference regular-season slate commences. Notable home games include matches versus 2014 GLVC champ Truman State (Oct. 31), GLVC runners-up McKendree (Oct. 10), and Midwest Regional participant Lewis (Nov. 13). The regular season will conclude with a Sunday match against Wisconsin-Parkside (Nov. 14). UIndy returns just four letterwinners and a pair of starters from last year’s squad, including All-Region outside hitter Hailey Brown (pictured) and middle blocker Becca Lira. Other key returnees include outside hitter Kacee Salyers, middle blocker Hannah Bauer, and setter Natalie Wichern.

Women’s soccer

The Greyhound women’s soccer team will open the 2015 season this September with a new leader, as first-year head coach Holly Cox takes the helm. Cox, who comes to UIndy after being an assistant at Division I Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, is the sixth head coach in program history. While with the Cougars for the past three seasons, Cox helped lead the program to three Ohio Valley Conference Tournament berths, including winning the OVC championship last season. The London, England, native started for four seasons as a goalkeeper at Southern Mississippi, where she earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She totaled 15 wins and seven shutouts in her playing career, while logging more than 4,800 minutes in goal and serving as team captain in both 2008 and 2009.

Cox will welcome 11 new faces to the UIndy roster this fall, with her Greyhounds opening their season on the road at Ursuline on Sept. 4. The home opener for the Hounds on the new Key Stadium turf will be Sept. 14 in a GLVC tilt with Wisconsin-Parkside.

Men’s soccer

GLVCMSoccer14This year, the UIndy men’s soccer season doesn’t start on the turf at Key Stadium. It doesn’t start anywhere in the Midwest or even in the United States. It starts before the whistle blows, before a single ball is kicked. This year, it starts with an act of service in the Caribbean, on the island of Hispaniola.

During first full week in August, the Greyhound soccer team partnered with Nehemiah Vision Ministries to take a mission trip to Haiti and construct a brand new soccer pitch for a local community. Head Coach John Higgins made the trek along with his student-athletes, a pair of graduate assistants, Senior Associate Athletic Director Scott Young and Sports Information Director Kyle Piercy. The seven-day trip took place during the first week of August.

On the pitch, the Greyhounds will have a new-look roster this fall, adding 15 fresh faces to last year’s 12-5-3, GLVC Tournament-winning squad. The 2015 club will open play with the first competition on Key Stadium’s new turf Sept. 3 versus Davis and Elkins in a regional contest.

Postseason honors continue for Greyhounds

Although the 2014–15 intercollegiate sports season has come to a close, UIndy’s NCAA Division II student-athletes have continued to earn accolades for their success in competition and in the classroom. News came in early June that the Greyhounds had claimed their fourth consecutive Top 10 finish in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, which awards points based on the results of seven men’s and seven women’s sports. Thanks in part to a strong showing this spring from women’s golf, softball, men’s golf and men’s and women’s track and field, UIndy posted a final total of 598 points to place at No. 7 nationally in D-II. Other honors have included:
— 24 student-athletes receiving the Great Lakes Valley Conference Council of Presidents’ Academic Excellence Award
— 206 student-athletes named Academic All-GLVC recipients
— Six teams earning GLVC Team Academic Awards
— Four student-athletes: Brooke Boyts (women’s tennis), Matthew Kaplanis (baseball), Koby Orris (football), and Chanice Young (women’s golf) were named GLVC Scholar-Athletes of the Year for 2014–15.

Teams enjoy new playing surfaces

Skillman_0642A number of Greyhound teams will be competing on new surfaces this year. Nicoson Hall’s sleek, newly installed court was made possible by a $500,000 donation from Ray Skillman Auto Group. In recognition of the gift, the competition floor will be dubbed “Skillman Court,” with a dedication ceremony taking place this fall. (See “Own a piece of history,” below.) In addition, Key Stadium’s Kiesel Field has new turf with updated logos and design to go along with the addition of men’s and women’s lacrosse lines. A lacrosse practice field was installed on National Avenue across from Kiesel Field.

Own a piece of history!

The 55-year-old Nicoson Hall recently received a makeover, thanks to a generous $500,000 gift by Ray Skillman Auto Group. The funds helped to replace the basketball floor (among other improvements), and now you can own a piece of that history: a 4″ x 12″ piece of the original hardwood overlaid with a black vinyl UIndy design or a 4″ x 12″  piece that is laser-engraved. Also available are plaques with an ebony piano finish that include a 5″ piece of the floor. Contact Matt Donovan at mdonovan@uindy.edu or (317) 788-3359 for more information.