Archive for September 25, 2014

COUGARS DOMINATE PEREGRINES ON VOLLEYBALL COURT

Indiana University Kokomo Cougars

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. – Purdue University Calumet traveled to the Cougar Gym and quickly grabbed a 2-1 lead over Indiana University Kokomo in women’s volleyball. And that was it. In a night that saw just two lead changes and five tie scores over three sets, the Cougars dominated nearly every facet of the game as they topped PUC 25-11, 25-23, 25-9.

“We knew we needed to stay focused; at the beginning of the season I don’t think we could do what we did to that team tonight,” said IU Kokomo head coach Heather Hayes, whose team improved to 9-7 after a 0-5 start. “I thought we played the way we should have played tonight.”

With the Peregrines holding a 2-1 lead in the opener, a kill from Lindi Thomas (Parker City, Ind./Wapahani) tied the game at 3-3. PUC scored the next point, but Rachel Allen (Linton, Ind./Tri-West) countered with a kill to tie the game at four each. Three straight errors from Calumet and a rocket kill from Thomas put Kokomo up 8-4 – and they never looked back, cruising to the 14 point win.

Set two may appear on paper to be close but it does not show that Kokomo jumped to a 6-1 lead on a kill from Elyse Younger (Fishers, Ind./Fishers) and led 22-12 victory in sight. But Kokomo’s cruise control turned into complacency as Calumet made a fierce comeback. The Cougars allowed three aces, had three unforced errors and allowed the Peregrines to dominate the net during a stretch that forced Hayes to call a pair of time outs. But just as PUC closed to 24-23, they had an error of its own to give the game to the Cougars.

“We had a comfortable lead in set two,” said Hayes. “Unfortunately, that was our mindset and we just got too relaxed on the court and lost our engagement.”

The third set saw the two squad’s battle to a 3-3 tie before Casey Colgate (Indianapolis/Lutheran) gave the Cougars the lead for good at 4-3. After Younger, Micayla Speidel (Columbus, Ind., Columbus East) and Allen rattled off three straight kills, Kokomo led 19-6 before holding the Peregrines to single digits in the set.

“We have a lot of talent on our team, and you can see that at practice,” said Hayes. “Our team really pushes each other all of the time. And we have started to gel, which has resulted in minimizing our unforced errors.”

Younger led the Cougars with eight kills. Thomas had a solid all-around game with seven kills, nine digs, two service aces and dropped all 12 of her serves in play. Speidel added seven kills. Cortney Hanson (Logansport, Ind./Pioneer) had 20 assists while Colgate added eight assists and a pair of service aces. Last week’s KIAC Volleyball Player of the Week and team captain Lael Larrick (Denver, Ind./North Miami) had 12 digs and was 9 for 9 on serves.

“Tonight, I was really pleased with our serving, especially our short serving,” said Hayes. “We did that really, really well tonight. I think we got them out of rhythm with our serves tonight.”

IU Kokomo is back in action on Sept. 27 as they travel to Purdue University North Central for a 2 p.m. match. They return to Cougar Gym for Faculty Appreciation Night on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. when they host Indiana University Southeast.

IU KOKOMO NAMES DAVID HANCOCK AS FIRST GOLF COACH, WILL LAUNCH NEW PROGRAM

Brandon Podgorski and David Hancock web

IU Kokomo Athletic Director Brandon Podgorski welcomes new Cougar men’s and women’s golf coach David Hancock. (Photo by Dean Hockney)

KOKOMO, Ind. – Indiana University Kokomo selects Dr. David Hancock to lead its men’s and women’s golf teams in their inaugural season.

Hancock, 33, is also an assistant professor of allied health sciences and researcher in sports psychology, talent development, and skill acquisition.

“Golf is one of the most mentally challenging sports, and I bring some unique skills that can help build a solid golf team,” Hancock said. “This is an opportunity for student athletes to continue playing in college, but from an approach that engages and embraces the mental aspect of the sport. I think these principles of sports psychology and talent development will set our program apart from our competitors.”

Athletic Director Brandon Podgorski said he and Dr. Todd Gambill, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management, were both impressed by Hancock’s experience, and his academic goals for the golf teams, which will begin play during the 2015-2016 school year.

“His experience in sports psychology brings a unique skill set that I feel will give our golfers a mental edge over their opponents,” he said. “It’s exciting to have someone with his background leading our teams. I’m very happy to have Dr. Hancock join the Cougar athletic family.”

With golf, IU Kokomo will add its first spring sport. Cougar athletics currently includes men’s and women’s cross country and women’s volleyball during the fall season, and men’s and women’s basketball during the winter. Golf teams play in the fall and spring.

Hancock anticipates beginning to recruit athletes in the near future, with the hope of having the nucleus of a team by summer. Its home course will be the Wildcat Creek Golf Course, and the Kokomo Country Club and American Legion courses have also agreed to partner with the teams, to give them experience on a variety of courses. The Cougars are part of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

“This is a great time to join IU Kokomo,” Hancock said. “It is a small, yet energetic and growing campus, with new degree programs, athletic teams, intramural sports, and student clubs.”

Athletes interested in playing for the Cougar golf teams may contact Podgorski at 765-455-9463 or bpodgors@iuk.edu, or go to iuk.cougars.com to fill out a recruiting form.

Courtesy of Indiana University Kokomo

 

 

HISTORIC WIN FOR THE IU KOKOMO WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL TEAM

Indiana University Kokomo Cougars

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. – When sports teams have successful seasons, they can usually look back to a defining moment. Last season, the Indiana University Kokomo volleyball team defeated Point Park University 3-2 for the programs first-ever win over a ranked opponent, and in the process improve to 5-0 in its record-breaking season. This year, the squads defining moment may have come in a straight-set, dominating victory over IU East to earn its fifth win in six matches after starting the season 0-5.

The 25-15, 25-16, 25-22 victory was so defining, it was actually historic: it marked the first time the Red Wolves of IU East had ever lost to an IU regional campus team. It also snapped a five-year streak of IU East winning its first Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game of the season.

“IU East has never lost to an IU regional campus before until tonight,” said an excited IUK head coach Heather Hayes. “Never! And we are the youngest program of all of the regional campuses. I think this is a great day for the IUK volleyball program.”

While many would consider this an upset win, IU East (3-7) is having a down year despite an earlier season win over the Cougars.

“I don’t think we thought of it an upset,” said Hayes. “When we played them earlier in the year, we had 38 unforced errors with 27 of them hitting errors.”

What a difference a couple of weeks makes. After a straight-set loss to IU East on Aug. 23, the Cougars played like the better team in the second meeting of 2014.

“We moved our offense around beautifully today,” said Hayes, whose Cougars trailed for only two points all night. “We played smart and had minimal unforced errors.”

Playing in front of a packed Cougar Gym on Military and First Responders Appreciation Night – which happened to fall on Patriot Day – IU Kokomo found itself down 3-2. But an error by IUE followed by back-to-back kills from Keeana Walton (Peru, Ind./Maconaquah) and Lexi Brickner (Wabash, Ind./Southwood) put the Cougars up 6-3. By the time Lindi Thomas (Parker City, Ind./Wapahani) scorched the Red Wolves defense with a pair of kills, the Cougars were up by eight points and cruising to the first set win.

The second set was much like the first. IUK trailed 1-0, but then dominated for the easy nine-point win. The third set turned into a thriller with seven ties and a down-to-the-wire finish. Tied at 12, Kokomo looked to be slowly pulling away at 14-12, 16-14 and 18-14. A service ace by the Red Hawks cut the lead to 20-19. Casey Colgate (Indianapolis/Lutheran) blasted one over the net to give the Cougars a 23-19 lead, which was short-lived as the Hawks closed the gap once again, cutting the lead to 23-22 on a Kokomo error. Following a Cougars time out, Walton scored on a kill and Natalie Heaton (Muncie, Ind./Wes-Del) closed the door with an ace to give the Cougars its first KIAC win of 2014.

“When we play aggressive on the serving end and make good decisions with the ball, we are capable of doing good things,” said Hayes. “We put together a complete match.”

Micayla Speidel (Columbus, Ind./Columbus East) and Thomas led Kokomo with nine kills each, Elyse Younger (Fishers, Ind./Fishers) had seven kills and Brickner finished with six. Cortney Hanson (Logansport, Ind./Pioneer) had 21 sets with Colgate adding 15. Lael Larrick (Denver, Ind./North Miami) led the squad with 14 digs on a night when Kokomo had just five errors.

Several military veterans and first responders were on hand to be honored as heroes by the Cougar Gym crowd. Following the game, they posed for pictures with the victorious team.

“I think it is a nice event to do and it was really special to do it on Sept. 11,” said Hayes. “We really appreciate what our men and women in the military do for us. We sometimes take for granted what they are doing so this is a nice way to say thanks and to remember they risk their lives for us.”

IU Kokomo (5-6, 1-0) returns to Cougar Gym on Sept. 13 for a tri-match against Asbury University and Calumet College of St. Joseph. The Cougars play Asbury at 1 p.m., Asbury and Calumet battle at 3 p.m., and IUK returns to the floor at 5 p.m. to host Calumet.

“I am excited because we get to play two very good teams,” said Hayes. “Asbury won the conference last year (Sept. 13 is a non-conference game), so I think it is good to see how we measure up to them early in the season.”