The title of top overall athletic department in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference has returned to campus.
Point Park claimed the 2014-15 KIAC Commissioner’s All-Sports Cup, the award given annually to the conference school that has the best performance across all sports in the KIAC standings. "It's great to have the cup back," said Dan Swalga, director of athletics. "It's a testament to the good work of our student-athletes and coaches that Point Park claimed the KIAC Cup in 2014-15. Congratulations to everyone who made this possible."
It is the second time in three years that Point Park has won the KIAC Cup. The Pioneers also claimed the honor for the 2012-13 academic year, the University’s first year in the conference.
Point Park narrowly finished second in the 2013-14 KIAC Cup standings and had to relinquish possession of the cup to conference member IU Southeast. But now it’s back in Pittsburgh, hopefully for an extended stay.
Point Park claimed the KIAC Cup after competing for a conference championship in just about every sport. Of the Pioneers’ 13 varsity sports teams, 10 of them finished either first or second place in the KIAC standings.
There was stiff competition for the cup with 11 KIAC schools vying for the top spot. In the end, Point Park edged out KIAC newcomer Rio Grande (Ohio) for the title. Point Park’s place in the final KIAC Cup standings was spearheaded by first-place finishes from the men’s soccer, baseball and golf teams.
The Pioneers had seven teams finish second in the KIAC: volleyball, women’s soccer, women’s cross country, women’s basketball, softball, and the men’s and women’s track and field teams.
The men’s basketball team finished sixth of 10 teams in the KIAC but made a great playoff run to the finals of the KIAC Tournament. Point Park’s women’s golf team was fourth in the KIAC, and the men’s cross country team was fifth.
Although the KIAC Cup standings were based on the regular season, the Pioneers did well in the postseason as well. The Pioneers’ volleyball team finished second in the regular season but captured the KIAC Tournament championship to qualify for the NAIA national tournament.
In men’s soccer, Point Park reached the finals of the KIAC Tournament but was narrowly beaten by Rio Grande, the No. 1-ranked team in the NAIA. Point Park had beaten Rio Grande earlier in the year to claim the regular-season championship and earn an NAIA Top 25 ranking.
Women’s cross country’s second-place finish at the KIAC Championship Meet, which was hosted by Point Park, was the highest conference placement in team history. And in women’s soccer and women’s basketball, Point Park reached the semifinals of the KIAC Tournament before coming up a few steps short of nationals.
In baseball, Point Park once again won the KIAC regular-season title, its third in a row. In the playoffs, Point Park made it to the final three teams in the KIAC Tournament but lost in the semifinals. The Pioneers, who were ranked in the NAIA Top 25 the entire year, came up just short of an at-large bid to nationals.
Pioneers Sprint Forward
The 2014-15 season was the first for the newly formed men’s and women’s track and field teams, which made an immediate contribution to Point Park’s KIAC Cup chances as they each finished second in the KIAC in their inaugural year.
The men’s golf team provided the clinching points for the Pioneers to reclaim the KIAC Cup. The team won the KIAC Tournament in April to lock up the victory for Point Park. It was the third conference championship and third NAIA national tournament appearance in a row for the Pioneers.
And now, as the 2015-16 athletics year is underway, the quest for keeping the KIAC Cup at Point Park has begun.
Text and photo by Kevin Taylor, director of athletic communications
The Point is a magazine for alumni and friends of Point Park University