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Saturday, November 17, 2018
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Metro Sports Report

No. 9 Eagles claim regional title

FORT DODGE - The Kirkwood Eagles got sweet revenge against Iowa Central in the championship match of the regional volleyball tournament Sunday afternoon in Fort Dodge.

The ninth-ranked Eagles clipped the seventh-ranked Tritons in five sets to claim the regional title, lifting Kirkwood to within one victory of qualifying for the national tournament.

Coach Jill Williams and the Eagles will host a two-team district tournament on Sunday, Nov. 4, with the victor advancing to the NJCAA Division II national tournament in Charleston, W.Va., from Nov. 15-17.

Iowa Central, the No. 1 seed in the regional, trimmed the Eagles in five sets when they met in a conference affair in Fort Dodge on Oct. 10, with the Tritons winning the fifth and final set 19-17 in overtime.

This time, Kirkwood took control in the fifth set with a 15-8 verdict to win the regional title.

Iowa Central won the first set Sunday, 32-30, in overtime, but the Eagles never blinked and captured the next two sets, 25-17 and 25-23, to grab a 2-1 lead. Iowa Central tied the match with a 25-22 victory in the fourth set, but Kirkwood controlled the fifth set for the win.

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Eagles earn spot in regional finals

FORT DODGE - The ninth-ranked Kirkwood Eagles will face seventh-ranked Iowa Central in the championship match of the NJCAA XI-A regional volleyball tournament Sunday in Fort Dodge.

The Eagles edged DMACC, 3-2, in the regional semifinals Saturday by winning the fifth set, 15-13. Iowa Central advanced with a 3-0 sweep of Southeastern in the semifinals.

The championship match between Kirkwood (30-8) and Iowa Central (28-9) is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

Kirkwood gained a measure of revenge against DMACC in the semifinals by winning 13-25, 25-16, 25-20, 22-25, 15-13. The Bears defeated Kirkwood in an ICCAC conference match, 3-1, on Aug. 29.

Kirkwood was seeded No. 5 in the regional tournament and DMACC was seeded No. 4, so the victory by Kirkwood was considered a mild upset.

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Usher picks Louisville; Jackson to Illinois

Two more baseball players from Kirkwood Community College will be headed to NCAA Division I schools after they play for the Eagles in 2019.

Levi Usher, a Cedar Rapids Prairie grad who is currently a freshman at Kirkwood, has accepted an offer from the University of Louisville.

Taylor Jackson, who helped Kirkwood reach the NJCAA Division II World Series last season, plans to continue his college baseball career at the University of Illinois.

Usher, an outfielder, hit .468 with seven home runs, 34 RBIs and 37 stolen bases at Prairie as a junior in 2017. He hit .381 with two homers and 37 RBIs as a senior after recovering from a broken leg.

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Can you dig it? Lauren Stopko can

Lauren Stopko has shattered the school record for digs for the Mount Mercy University volleyball team with a whopping 2,463 for her remarkable four-year career.

She's also among the career leaders for the Mustangs in bright smiles, energy and leadership.

"Lauren is an outstanding kid," Mount Mercy Coach Deb Marlin said Tuesday night. "She's a hard worker in the gym and she has extremely high expectations for herself.

"I think the girls look up to her."

Stopko, from Clear Creek Amana High School, stepped right into the lineup as a freshman at Mount Mercy in 2015 and has never slowed down. She collected 777 digs as a freshman and has 688 this year with a few weeks left in the regular season.

Stopko had 23 digs Tuesday night as Mount Mercy swept Briar Cliff, 25-20, 27-25, 25-20, in a non-conference match at the Hennessey Recreation Center. She notched her 23rd and final dig on set point as the Mustangs raised their record to 18-12.

Stopko, the libero at Mount Mercy, will probably finish her college career with more than 2,500 digs.

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No. 9 Eagles drop 5-set match

NORFOLK, Neb. - The Kirkwood women's volleyball team lost to Northeast Community College in five sets Tuesday night, 17-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-14, 15-13, in an ICCAC conference match on the road.

The ninth-ranked Eagles enjoyed a 2-1 lead after three sets, but the Eagles were not able to finish the job in the final match of the regular season.

Kirkwood fell to 29-8 overall and 5-4 in the conference. The Eagles will be the No. 5 seed for the regional tournament this Saturday and Sunday.

Northeast raised its records to 17-13 overall and 8-1 in the league.

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