UIC tops Horizon League in Directors’ Cup standings
UIC led all Horizon League schools in the 2018-19 Division I Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup standings. The Flames accumulated 75 points and outscored the closest competitor in the conference by 28 points to run away with the top spot in the Horizon League.
“Since arriving at UIC our mission has been simple,” said UIC Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Garrett Klassy. “It’s all about ‘winning championships, changing lives.’ Everything that we do, we do with that focused mindset. There is no doubt in my mind that our student-athletes and coaches challenge themselves at the highest level day in and day out, and for the Flames to be recognized as a leader in the highly competitive Horizon League is a real honor for our entire university. Congratulations to all those who have had a significant hand in our recent success, and thank you for making everyone around you better every single day.”
UIC collected its first 25 points on the heels of a third consecutive Horizon League championship for the men’s soccer program. Under the guidance of head coach Sean Phillips, the Flames earned the second seed in the conference tournament with a mark of 5-2-1 in League play. Following a first-round bye, UIC knocked off No. 5 IUPUI on penalty kicks to open their run in the tournament. Faced with a test against the regular-season champions and the top seed, Wright State, the Flames rose to the challenge. On the strength of three goals from freshmen Josiah Ash (2) and Pau Mateo, UIC toppled the Raiders, 3-1, and earned a bid in the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year and the eighth time since 1999.
Following a quiet winter, the women’s tennis team added to the tally in the spring with another 25 points at the end of April. Head coach Shannon Tully‘s squad tied the program record for wins in a season with 20, and at one point, the Flames went 69 consecutive days without a loss between Feb. 8 and April 19. The team secured the top seed at the Horizon League Championship with a record of 8-1 against conference opponents. It was the third consecutive regular season title for these Flames. UIC breezed through the tournament by taking out No. 5 Wright State, 4-1, in the semifinal before shutting out No. 2 Cleveland State in the championship match, 4-0. It was the 18th tournament title, and the first since 2013.
Finally, the baseball team earned its second NCAA Regional bid since 2017 and the final 25 points toward the department’s Directors’ Cup score. Like their counterparts from the men’s soccer team, the baseball squad entered the conference tournament as the No. 2 seed behind No. 1 Wright State. Playing at WSU, the Flames began the tournament by slugging past No. 3 Milwaukee, 18-10. UIC followed that up by winning 11-6 in 10 innings against the top-seeded Raiders. That victory was the only extra-inning victory of the season for head coach Mike Dee‘s group. After Milwaukee eliminated WSU, the Flames came from behind to knock out the Panthers, 6-5, and secure the sixth NCAA Tournament bid under Dee’s direction.
Stanford won the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup for the 25th consecutive year. The Cardinal compiled over 1,500 points and topped second-place Michigan by more than 230 points. Florida, Texas and USC round out the top five in 2018-19. Below is a complete list of the points scored by each counting Horizon League institution:
Detroit Mercy, 46
Wright State, 30
Cleveland State, 25
Northern Kentucky, 25
Green Bay, 25
The Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup was developed as a joint effort between National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. In the second year of an updated scoring system, all scores were counted for men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and women’s volleyball. Additionally, only up to 15 other of the highest scores were included in the final score. Points were awarded based on each institution’s finish in NCAA championships.