It has been awhile before I put forth this final installment of the athletic year in review. I wanted the softball team to get their season done, the track team to get through regionals and for the baseball team to finish up the Big Ten tournament. So for the most part the spring season has finally come to a close and we can begin discussing the season that was. In this edition of 24 sports, 1 team we will be covering the two outdoor track teams, the softball and baseball teams, the tennis teams, golf and water polo. So let’s get into it right away.
Women’s water polo is one of our Title IX sports that has been incredibly successful in recent years. The Lady Hoosiers had an extraordinary season this year continuing the traditions of success. They ended up with a 6th place finish nationally this year to go with a top 10 finish last season. The Hoosiers won what is essentially the Eastern US National Championship in late April to go with their top 6 finish in the real national championship. I say, Eastern US ‘ship, because no team east of the Mississippi has ever won a national championship. A sixth place finish was the best finish this year by any team outside of California.
The Women’s golf team certainly struggled throughout the season. The many lows were only muted by the performance of freshman Lindsay Gahm who was our only golfer to qualify for the NCAA regionals in South Bend, IN. She finished her season of play there by tying for 95th. That isn’t too shabby for her first year of play on a collegiate level. She finished just two strokes over par and one would imagine her game will continue to improve greatly. Keep an eye out for her name for several years to come.
The Men as a team faired quite a bit better on the season. We were able to qualify a handful of golfers into the NCAA Regional Championships and sophomore Corey Ziedonis paced the Hoosiers to an eighth place finish overall. It took being in the top five for us to move on to the National Championships but it was still a season well played. Ziedonis shot a 2 under 69 to fall just a stroke out of a playoff to see which individuals would get the opportunity to play in the NCAAs unattached. The Men also took a win against Purdue to add to the overall championship we experienced in the athletic series.
Women’s Tennis had a season of ups and downs that ultimately left them in seventh place in the conference. They eventually fell to Northwestern as a team in the Big Ten Championships, but top singles player Leslie Hureau was able to qualify to eventually play for an NCAA singles championship at Stanford. The sophomore was named IU Women’s Tennis’ first All-American since 1992. Unfortunately she and the Hoosiers dropped the head to head match against Purdue earlier in the year.
The Men’s team was able to play well enough to clobber Purdue in a head to head face off 6-1 and qualify to play for a team national championship in College Station, Texas. Unfortunately qualifying was all they could do as they fell to LSU in the opening round. The individual highlights of the tourney would have been the doubles team of Santiago Gruter and Jeremy Langer topping the country’s number 8 duo of LSU. Though there was not National Championship, the Hoosiers finished the season with a school record 23 wins and a 9-1 conference record.
Ah the bullpen issues. IU had a pretty strange season this year. They spent a good amount of time near the top of the conference and then they struggled to find their rhythm again. The bullpen was largely the issue on the year and that reared its ugly head once again in the final game of the season. In the Big Ten tournament, Illinois and a walk off homer buried the season. Their final record was 30-25. The Hoosiers dropped a series to Purdue for points in the C&G Cup, but there were a few individual standouts. OF Alex Dickerson and freshman pitcher Joey DeNato were named first team All-Big Ten.
The softball team has been covered in a previous article, but as a quick recap, they went on a torrid 17 game win streak to finish second in conference and selected for an at large bid in the NCAA Super Regionals. They eventually fell to the Illinois State Redbirds to bow out of the tourney but the season as a whole was a super successful year. Morgan Melloh finished the season with a career strikeout total of 1532 and an IU/Big Ten single season record of 494.
Track and Field:
The Men’s track team will be competing in Des Moines, Iowa for a national championship two weeks from now. They were able to qualify 13 individuals that constitute 11 events. The highlights were the 4x100 team of Devin Pipkin, Chris Vaughn, Kind Butler and Tyler Sult running just .06 seconds off the school record last weekend to qualify for nationals. Tune back in two weeks from now to get the rundown on how the Hoosiers finish.
The same goes for the Women’s team as they also were able to qualify several for the national championships. Faith Sherrill continued her national success with her shot put qualification along with teammate Monique Riddick. Sarah Pease ran/jumper her way into the ‘ships with a strong showing in the 3000m steeple chase. Like the men, tune in two weeks from now to get the final lowdown on how the whole season shook out.