Local Sports News: April 2, 2024

Former Indianapolis Colt Vontae Davis Passes Away at Age 35
Former Indianapolis Colts cornerback, Vontae Davis, was found dead in a Florida home Monday morning. He was 35 years old. Colts owner, Jim Irsay, posted on X saying: “Extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Vontae Davis. A great guy, teammate, player. My prayers to Vontae’s family.” Police in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Davie said they responded to a medical emergency at Davis’ home Monday morning, but the 35-year-old was dead when officers arrived. No cause of death has been released pending autopsy results. Police said in a statement that the investigation is still active. Police said preliminary information suggested foul play wasn’t involved.

Davis played for 10 seasons in the NFL after being drafted 25th overall by the Dolphins in 2009 out of Illinois. Davis played three seasons for Miami before being traded to Indianapolis just before the 2012 season. He played six seasons with the Colts. 

The Indianapolis Colts shared this message following the announcement: “We are devastated to hear of Vontae Davis’s passing. He was a standout player in his six seasons with the Horseshoe, but he was an even better teammate who carried a smile and positive energy every day. He will be deeply missed, and we send our prayers to his family and loved ones.”

The Washington, D.C., native signed with the Buffalo Bills for 2018 but left the team at halftime of the season’s second game. He released a statement announcing his retirement after the game, saying that after multiple injuries and surgeries, “Reality hit me fast and hard: I shouldn’t be out there anymore.” The Bills said they were saddened to learn of Davis’ death and that they were “thinking of his friends, family, and loved ones during this difficult time.” Davis played in 121 games, intercepting 22 passes and returning one for a touchdown. He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2014 and 2015 while a member of Indianapolis.

Indiana’s Carson Tyler and Head Coach Drew Johansen honored by the CSCAA
The College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) on Monday rewarded two members of the Indiana swimming and diving program among its postseason awards. For the third consecutive season, Indiana head diving coach Drew Johansen was named a CSCAA Diving Coach of the Year – his second-straight award in the men’s category. Junior Carson Tyler was named the CSCAA Men’s Diver of the Year. Indiana showcased perhaps the greatest-ever diving performance at an NCAA Championships last week during the 2024 men’s national meet in Indianapolis. The Hoosiers totaled 121 points on the boards, 66 points better than the second-best diving team (Ohio State) and outscoring all but 10 combined swimming and diving programs. Indiana has eclipsed 100 points at back-to-back NCAA meets, earning 104 points last year.

Johansen was previously named the CSCAA Men’s Coach of the Year in 2018 and 2023, as well as the women’s coach of the year in 2022. His program has produced an NCAA Champion in five of the last six seasons and seven total titles in that span. The Hoosiers have won the 3-meter and platform championships in back-to-back seasons. At the NCAA Championships, the trio of juniors Tyler and Quinn Henninger and sophomore Maxwell Weinrich collected two medals from each of the three diving events – two gold, two silver, two bronze – and eight All-America finishes.

Tyler won two NCAA titles last week, repeating as platform champion Saturday after earning his first-career 3-meter title Friday, which was won by now-graduated Hoosier Andrew Capobianco last season. Combining the championships and a bronze-medal finish on 1-meter, Tyler totaled 56 points over the week – a total that outscored every other diving program. Tyler won on platform with a score of 515.75, IU’s best-ever mark at an NCAA Championships. He led a 1-2 finish for the second-straight night as Weinrich earned his first-career national medal. Weinrich totaled 19 points on the week. Henninger took silver on both springboards and finished seventh on platform – a total of 46 points.

On Deck at the Vic: Daily deals and Total Solar Eclipse Weekend highlight opening homestand
Fresh off their first win of the 2024 season, the Indianapolis Indians kick off their first homestand this evening against the Memphis Redbirds, Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Celebrate accordingly as Indians baseball returns to Victory Field on Opening Night with a 60 Degree Weather Guarantee, Tuesday Dollar Menu and Knot Hole Kids Club Opening Night. The week continues with a Half-Off Wednesday Night (April 3), Thirsty Thursday™ (April 4) and Friday Fireworks (April 5) before Total Solar Eclipse Weekend (April 6-7) rounds out the six-game series.

Indiana University Baseball’s Jasen Oliver Named Big Ten Freshman of the Week
After a prolific week at the plate, freshman second baseman Jasen Oliver was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week, as announced by the league office on Monday afternoon. Oliver, who was inserted into the starting lineup following the Troy series, has been on a tear to begin his college career. In five games this past week, Oliver hit .550 (11-20) with three home runs, seven runs and seven RBIs. He was one of two freshmen with a four-hit game (Andrew Wiggins) this week and was the second Hoosier with a multi-home run game (Devin Taylor) in 2024. One of the top recruits in the country last year, Oliver is hitting .388 across 13 starts this year and has 19 hits and 11 walks with just nine strikeouts. He’s riding a team-best 11-game hitting streak following this weekend’s action.

Since Jeff Mercer took over in 2019, Oliver is the eighth different IU freshman to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors at least once. He’s the sixth on this year’s roster to have earned it during their career along with Morgan Colopy, Josh Pyne, Carter Mathison, Devin Taylor and Tyler Cerny. IU has been awarded all three of the Big Ten weekly awards at some point in 2024 with Taylor (Player), Oliver (Freshman) and Connor Foley (Pitcher) earning honors so far this season.

Indiana University Volleyball announces Spring schedule updates
Head Coach Steve Aird and the Indiana volleyball program have announced the following changes to its 2024 spring slate, as of Monday. Instead of the KIVA College Spring Tournament on Saturday, April 13th, the Hoosiers will play IUPUI at Wilkinson Hall (11:00 AM) in a five-set scrimmage. Due to a country music concert at Memorial Stadium later in the afternoon and the lack of parking availability, friends and family will be the only ones allowed to attend the match.

The April 19th match at Center Grove High School against in-state foe Purdue is officially sold out. There will be no tickets available at the door. You will not be allowed in without a previously purchased ticket. Fans are encouraged to attend Saturday’s (April 6) match at Westfield High School against Xavier. If fans don’t have tickets to the Purdue match, it will be the only chance to catch the Hoosiers in action this spring.

2024 Spring Volleyball Schedule
April 6th – Indiana vs. Xavier (Westfield, Ind. – Westfield HS)
April 13th – Indiana vs. IUPUI (Bloomington, Ind. – Friends and Family Only)
April 19th – Indiana vs. Purdue (Greenwood, Ind. – Center Grove HS) (SOLD OUT!)

Taylor University to Restart Tennis Programs in 2025
Taylor University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Kyle Gould, announced on Monday, that TU would be restarting its men’s and women’s tennis programs in the fall of 2025. The return of men’s and women’s tennis as varsity athletic programs in the fall of 2025 will end a five-year gap for the sports at TU, after the programs were previously halted during a restructuring within the Athletics Department in the spring of 2020 during the Covid-19 epidemic. “We are excited that our current environment allows men’s and women’s tennis to return to their rightful status as intercollegiate sports here at Taylor,” stated Gould. “We have a strong history of competitive success and life-changing development in both programs and we look forward to hiring the right coach to lead these programs back, starting in the fall of 2025.”

The tennis programs return a rich history on campus, with the men’s program originally starting in 1933-1934 and boasting 16 league championships and seven NAIA National Tournament appearances. The women’s team originally started in 1971-1972 and has won three league crowns, while advancing to the NAIA National Tournament four times. The resumption of men’s and women’s tennis at Taylor for the fall of 2025 will boost the number of collegiate varsity athletic teams offered at TU to 20. Both tennis programs will compete within the Crossroads League. Taylor will open its search for a head coach of the tennis programs in April of 2024.

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