Athletes’ feats: 2014–2015

 

Women’s golf captures University’s first NCAA championship

golf-team-2The women’s golf team is the first University of Indianapolis athletics team to win a national championship, turning in a title-winning performance at the 2015 NCAA Division II Championships, May 13–16 in Allendale, Michigan. Led by senior Chanice Young, the Greyhounds notched a five-stroke win in the year’s biggest tournament. UIndy maintained the lead through all four rounds. After earning a one-shot edge after 18 holes, the lead ballooned to 16 strokes after the second round before slimming a bit to 11 after the third. During Saturday’s final round, runner-up Rollins College made a hard charge with a team score of 293—the lowest of the event—but UIndy held off the Tars with a solid 299 to win by five strokes. “I’m so proud of this entire program,” said head coach Brent Nicoson. “I am so lucky to coach this group. They have been relentless in their pursuit to get better, and that has now paid off with four consecutive conference titles, four consecutive NCAA regionals, and a national championship.”

Chanice Young capped her collegiate career by tying for fifth among Division II’s toughest field. The Evansville, Indiana, native carded rounds of 76, 74, 75 and 77, finishing five back of the individual medalist from Midwestern State. Junior Brooke Beegle (77-73-76-77) also had a top-10 showing, sharing seventh in the 71-golfer field. Freshman Annika Haynes fired a one-under 71 Saturday, finishing tied for 16th. Fellow freshman Paxton DeHaven (79-75-81-74) also had her best round on the final day, with a two-over 74 to come in at 20th. Junior Molly Ward (82-77-78-89) tied for 55th. Golfweek, in a May 19 story, “National title lends symmetry, history to Indianapolis program,” noted that Coach Nicoson is the son of former assistant football coach and current administrator Dan Nicoson, and the grandson of storied UIndy coach and athletic director Angus Nicoson, for whom the campus gymnasium is named.

Softball captures regional title

The softball team also had a stellar season in 2015. On the same day that the women’s golf team won its national title, the team captured the program’s second Midwest Region crown. Down 0-1 in the best-of-three Super Regional, the Greyhounds defeated top-ranked Missouri-St. Louis and its All-American pitcher twice in the same day to advance to the NCAA Division II Championship for the first time since 2009. Once on the national stage, UIndy’s own All-American, junior pitcher Morgan Foley, opened the “World Series” with a no-hitter versus No. 6 North Georgia to lift the Hounds to an exciting 1-0 victory on the first day of the eight-team championship. Though the Hounds were eliminated after dropping the next two games, UIndy finished with an impressive 48-15 final mark to record its fourth consecutive 40-win campaign.

A pair of senior sluggers concluded record-breaking careers in 2015. Casey Williamson and Taylor Russell will go down as the most dynamic hitting tandem in program history. Williamson set UIndy career records for runs, hits, doubles, triples, walks, and stolen bases, while Russell is the program’s new all-time leader in home runs and runs driven in. Both were named to the 2015 All-America Second Team by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

Men’s and women’s tennis earn program bests

tennisBoth Greyhound tennis teams won program-first NCAA Regional titles in 2014–15, and both made their first trips to the NCAA Division II National Championships. UIndy’s women, who won the program’s first Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament Championship since 2007, won the right to host their portion of the Midwest Regional and won the title match via a 5-2 decision over Drury. The #47 Greyhounds drew #18 Southwest Baptist in Sweet 16 play and fell 5-1 to the Tigers to close out their historic season. The Greyhound men, who played their regional at Northwood, defeated Great Lakes Intercollegiate conference foe Grand Valley State 5-2 to advance to its first-ever NCAA Championships. UIndy, ranked #22 coming into the Sweet 16, ran into a buzzsaw in #4 Armstrong, taking a 5-0 loss to end its season in Surprise, Ariz. In addition to the heroics on the court, both Luke Hubert and Brooke Boyts earned 2014–15 Capital One Academic All-District honors, with Hubert carrying a 3.97 GPA as a chemistry and biology major while Boyts owns a 3.96 cumulative GPA in pre-art therapy and psychology.

Men’s basketball earns second #1 ranking

With an historic 2014–15 campaign that included a two-week stint as No. 1 in the nation, UIndy finished with a stellar 25-6 record, capped by the team’s first NCAA “Sweet 16” showing. UIndy started the season with a 17-game winning streak on the way to securing the program’s second-ever No. 1 ranking. The Greyhounds remained in the top 10 for nine straight weeks before finishing with their highest win total in 51 years. After a respectable 13-point loss at Indiana University in an exhibition contest in early November, the schedule yielded victories against nationally ranked opponents: No. 4 Bellarmine, No. 9 Barry, and No. 19 Drury.
The year closed with the team’s fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA tourney. UIndy bounced Michigan Tech and Lewis by an average of 20 points in the first two rounds before falling to then third-ranked Bellarmine in the regional final.The team was led in scoring by Joe Lawson. The 6-7 Indianapolis native needed just two years to become the 38th member of UIndy’s 1,000-point club and averaged 19.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. He was named First Team All-Midwest Region and went on to play in the 2015 Reese’s Division II College All-Star game after the season. Senior Brennan McElroy appeared on the All-GLVC list, taking second-team accolades. He and senior Dai-Jon Parker were included on the GLVC All-Defensive squad. Junior point guard Lucas Barker set the mark for assists in a season, with 7.5 per game—good for second in all of Division II.

Directors’ Cup—in the Top 10 again

softballThis just in at press time: Sitting at 63rd after the winter standings, the University’s streak of top-ten finishes in the Division II Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup seemed in jeopardy. A remarkable spring season, however, landed the Greyhounds in the No. 7 spot of the final standings. UIndy picked up its fourth straight top-10 Directors’ Cup finish, its 12th top-20 finish in 13 years.