For the third season in a row, the UIndy football team comes into the 2014 season as the unanimous favorite to win the Great Lakes Valley Conference title. UIndy is coming off consecutive GLVC championships and NCAA postseason appearances and returns 15 starters—nine offensive, six defensive—from last year’s 10-2 squad. The Greyhounds swept through their 2013 conference slate, capped by a 21-14 final-minute win versus Truman State in the regular-season finale. UIndy went on to host an NCAA Division II playoff game for the second straight season, dropping a 27-14 final to 19th-ranked West Texas A&M in the first round. Fifth-year head man and reigning GLVC Coach of the Year Bob Bartolomeo welcomes back 14 student-athletes from last season’s All-GLVC list, including first team all-conference quarterback Connor Barthel. After stepping in for injured All-American Chris Mills in week five of last season, Barthel led the Greyhounds to a 6-1 record as a starter, compiling single-season school records for completion percentage (.697) and pass efficiency (164.9).
Following Missouri S&T (38 points) and McKendree (32), GLVC newcomers and associate members Southwest Baptist University (28) and Lincoln University (27) landed in sixth and seventh in the poll, respectively. The two squads moved to the GLVC this season after several years in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA). Southwest Baptist recorded a 1-10 record (1-9 MIAA) in 2013, while Lincoln was 3-8 (2-8).
The Greyhounds’ 2014 ledger features a pair of in-region, non-conference games versus Saginaw Valley State (Sept. 6) and Hillsdale (Sept. 27), as well as games against Southwest Baptist (Sept. 20) and Lincoln (Oct. 25). The Lincoln match-up will cap the University’s annual Homecoming Week, while the Oct. 30 contest versus in-state-rival Saint Joseph’s will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
The UIndy volleyball team enters the 2014 season as the defending Great Lakes Valley Conference champion, having won the program’s fourth conference crown last year. The Hounds also reached the NCAA Tournament for the seventh consecutive season and eighth overall. Head Coach Jason Reed, now in his second year at the helm, went 25-10 (15-3 GLVC) in 2013, winning more than any other first-year UIndy volleyball coach in program history. His squad will undergo baptism by fire to start the year, facing last season’s No. 2 (Tampa), No. 6 (Central Missouri), No. 13 (Ferris) and No. 17 (Wheeling Jesuit) teams in a five-day span in September.
Cross Country preview
The UIndy men’s and women’s cross country teams will begin the 2014 season at the Queen City Invitational in Cincinnati on September 5. Other highlights in their schedules include Little State on September 19, the GLVC Championship on November 8, and the NCAA Midwest Regional on November 22. Should the Greyhounds advance to the DII National Championship, they won’t have far to travel, as fellow GLVC member Bellarmine University is hosting in nearby Louisville. Leading the Greyhounds for the men is senior standout Alex Cushman. Cushman finished his season last year at the DII National Championships, the first time an individual has qualified since 1991. He finished 49th in the nation. The women will be led by senior Jacklyn Howland. Howland had the best finish for the women at the NCAA Regional at 39th and finished conference second best with a 19th-place finish.
Men’s Soccer preview
UIndy men’s soccer plans to build on last year’s record-breaking season, which featured the team’s first NCAA Tournament berth in program history. The Greyhounds, coming off a trip to the Great Lakes Valley Championship Tournament final game a season ago as the co-regular season GLVC champions, will again be led by UIndy alum John Higgins. In his fifth year as the UIndy head man, Higgins was named the GLVC Coach of the Year a season ago after leading the program to a 15-3-3 record, with a 12-1-2 GLVC slate. Both win marks were good for program bests. The Greyhounds open the 2014 schedule at home, hosting a pair of in-region games versus GLIAC foes. Northwood will kick off the season in a 5 p.m. game Sept. 5 at Key Stadium. UIndy will then host Tiffin two days later in a 2:30 p.m. contest. The GLVC season opens the next weekend, with William Jewell and 2013 GLVC Champion Rockhurst coming to UIndy for a pair of conference matches Sept. 12 and 14. The league season ends Oct. 29, followed by the GLVC Championship Tournament Nov. 2-9.
Women’s Soccer preview
The UIndy women’s soccer squad opens the 2014 season Sept. 5 at Tiffin, versus in-region Saginaw Valley State. The Greyhounds will then face off with the host Dragons in another GLIAC/GLVC showdown Sunday before jumping into Great Lakes Valley Conference play Sept. 12 at home versus visiting William Jewell. The opening homestand will continue through the next Sunday, with Rockhurst coming to Key Stadium for a Sunday matinee at noon. The regular season concludes Oct. 29 at Saint Joseph’s, with the annual GLVC Championship Tournament kicking off the next weekend on campus sites. UIndy’s roster will be punctuated by six seniors, including starting goalkeeper Megan Fee. Eight newcomers will add to the Greyhound ranks for 2014, including seven freshmen and a transfer from Ball State. In all, 10 of last year’s starters will return to the pitch for head coach Kiley Cirillo, anchored by seniors Fee, Katie Crump, Katie Johnston, and Stacey Klene.
And lacrosse is coming!
The University of Indianapolis made official its addition of men’s and women’s lacrosse, announcing the hiring of two head coaches in June. Newlyweds Greg Stocks and Jillian Howley, both former head coaches at Division II Lake Erie, will each step in as their respective gender’s very first UIndy lacrosse head coach. Married earlier this summer, the duo comes to Central Indiana from Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. Both will have a year to recruit and build a staff before starting NCAA Division II competition in the spring of 2016. “We are extremely excited to welcome Jillian and Greg not only because of their successful coaching backgrounds, but also because they are a great fit for the University,” said Sue Willey, UIndy vice president for intercollegiate athletics. “Their passion for their sport, team-player attitude and desire to establish a positive experience for our student-athletes makes them a perfect fit for UIndy.”
The addition of men’s and women’s lacrosse ups UIndy’s total number of varsity sports to 23. Both teams will start NCAA competition in the spring of 2016, using Key Stadium as their competition venue. With limited conference options in Division II lacrosse, both teams will begin as independents, joining the Greyhound wrestling squad as UIndy’s only teams not affiliated with the Great Lakes Valley Conference. “I’ve started a program from the ground up before, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge of doing it again at UIndy,” said Stocks. “I was very impressed with their leadership and facilities. I believe men’s lacrosse will soon contribute to the school’s winning culture. I can’t wait to get started.”
—Compiled by Ryan Thrope, Jackie Paquette, and Kyle Piercy