Greyhounds enjoy spectacular success

 

All-Sports Trophy

Success and championships have been synonymous with UIndy Athletics over the course of the 2011–12 season. That was confirmed when the Greyhounds were awarded the Great Lakes Valley Conference All-Sports Trophy in May. UIndy won a school-record seven conference championships on the way to 167.5 points in the GLVC’s 17 championship sports. UIndy outscored second-place Northern Kentucky by 11.5 points and third-place Bellarmine by 26.5 points.This is the fourth GLVC All-Sports Trophy for UIndy and the first since the 2002–03 season. The Greyhounds won their first conference all-sports award in 1978–79 and their second in 1994–95.

The championship successes for UIndy started in the fall when the volleyball team took its third conference championship with a thrilling five-set home win in the tournament championship match. The second championship came in the winter, with the men’s indoor track and field team winning its third consecutive conference title in the event.

Five championships in a row

The big points for UIndy started to add up in the spring as the Greyhounds finished the conference season by sweeping the last five championships to be contested. The run started with a double-header on April 29 as the softball team defeated Illinois Springfield in the finals in Peoria, Ill., while women’s golf finished a seven-shot comeback to win the championship in Waterloo, Illinois. For the third year in a row, the men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams were double champions at the GLVC Championships at St. Joseph’s College on May 5. The final points for UIndy came at Bosse Field in Evansville, Ind., as the baseball team bounced back from losing its tournament opener to win five in a row and knock off Northern Kentucky in the finals on May 13.

Postseason proficiency

The Greyhounds’ success over their conference rivals has propelled multiple teams to postseason excellence in the NCAA Championships. As of late May, for example, the Greyhounds were still competing in baseball (46-14), with the GLVC and Midwest Region champions headed to the Division II College World Series in Cary, N.C., for the second time in school history. At the same time, seven men’s track and field standouts were in Colorado, looking for another top-10 finish after taking eighth at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.

UIndy’s proficiency in the postseason led UIndy to ranking fifth in the first spring rankings of the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings for NCAA Division II, tying the school record finish among all D-II institutions set in 2008–09. The Greyhounds started racking up points in the Directors’ Cup in the fall with its No. 15 volleyball team (24-8) reaching the championship match of the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional for the third year in a row. The team’s success came behind the play of All-American outside hitters Kristina Hefferan and Kristina Kerrigan.

Stretch run

With six sports in the midst of testing their mettle against the rest of the country in NCAA events, the 10-day stretch of March 9–18 was a focal point for UIndy fans. The indoor track and field team started things off with its eighth-place finish behind All-America performances from Ryan Smith (shot put, 5th; weight throw, 5th), Robert Gardner (200m, 5th), Matt Royer (weight throw, 2nd), Jerel Flournoy (long jump, 4th) and Joshua Bass (long jump, 7th).

Both basketball teams competed in the regionals. The men (20-9) advanced to the second round for the first time since 1996–97 behind All-America point guard Adrian Moss; the women (19-11) returned to the postseason for the fourth time in the last five seasons behind GLVC leading scorer and all-region guard Kristin Turner.

The wrestling team took points in the meet in Pueblo, Colorado, as freshman 125-pounder Josh Kieffer became an All-American, placing sixth. The stretch concluded with the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams reaching yet another lofty finish at the NCAA Championships in Mansfield, Texas.

Sister act

The women took 11th behind two-time GLIAC Swimmer of the Year Maura Donahue, a seven-time All-American this season, and older sister Meghan, an All-American in five events. The men moved up to 12th in the country with freshman Justin Rossillo earning a team-high six All-America finishes and five each by Guy Kogel and Bruno Barbosa. The softball team (50-9), ranked among the top two teams in the country for much of the season, hosted the NCAA Midwest Regional in the first season for UIndy’s new Baumgartner Field on campus to start the scoring in the spring.

The Greyhounds were led all year by the tandem of Midwest Region Player of the Year Casey Williamson and Midwest Region Pitcher of the Year Jennifer DeMotte, who were also First Team All-Americans. Success continued for the Greyhounds at the NCAA Spring Sports Festival on the links in Louisville. After winning the East Super Regional, the Greyhounds advanced to nationals and finished ninth in the country for their third top-10 finish in four years.

Another honor came before the championship started as sophomore Jenny Konop won the Elite 89 award as the student-athlete with the highest GPA among the championship teams. Konop is a biology major with a 3.932 grade point average on a 4-point scale.The men’s golf team was one of just 20 teams across the nation to advance to the national tournament, coming home in 11th with 2012 GLVC Golfer of the Year Aaron Monson finishing his career with the fourth-lowest scoring average in school history (73.9).

Now serving

The impact of the Greyhounds hasn’t been limited to the playing field, with the teams continuing their vaunted record of community service. Numerous student-athletes were involved in service projects throughout the year. The Crimson and Grey volunteered at Riley Children’s Hospital, Great UIndy Cleanup, Not For Sale, Free2Play, the Special Olympics, and St. Christopher’s Auction. Such efforts were in addition to raising money to buy and collect a total of 1,604 canned goods for the GLVC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Food Drive—stacking up as one of the top numbers in the conference.