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Wednesday, January 17, 2018
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Metro Sports Report

Wounded Eagles fly into regional finals

Jill Williams is an excellent coach for the Kirkwood women's volleyball team.

She's also a master juggler.

Williams had to juggle her lineup Wednesday night with two key starters sidelined with injuries, but the 13th-ranked Eagles adjusted without a hiccup and whipped NIACC, 25-19, 25-15, 25-11, in the  regional semifinals at Johnson Hall.

Kirkwood (25-16) will face Northeast Community College in the regional finals Saturday at noon in Iowa Falls, with the winner advancing to the NJCAA Division II national tournament.

Ady Wintermote, a freshman who leads the Eagles in kills, sprained her left ankle in practice Tuesday and needed crutches to get around the  gym Wednesday. And Brianna Eberhardt, another freshman who leads the Eagles in digs, has been sidelined the past 10 days with a concussion suffered at a tournament.

On short notice, Williams moved a few people around and produced another winning combination.

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KCC women begin year No. 1 in nation

Here's a dose of bad news for anyone who has to play the Kirkwood women's basketball team this season.

The Eagles, who went 37-0 last year and won the national title, could be even more talented this season.

"This group has a chance to be pretty good," Coach Kim Muhl said. "We're long, we're athletic.

"We have more depth than last year," he announced. "We just don't have the monster inside."

That "monster" last season was Simone Goods, the powerful center who was named the National Player of the Year and the Outstanding Player in the NJCAA national tournament.

Goods graduated after averaging 16.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Muhl will rotate several players in the post this  year, but knows it will be difficult to get the same production near the hoop.

Otherwise, Muhl likes what he sees as the Eagles prepare to open the season at the State Fair Tournament in Sedalia, Mo., this weekend. Kirkwood faces Iowa Western Friday and State Fair Saturday.

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Eagles repeat as undefeated ICCAC champs

The Kirkwood Eagles captured the ICCAC volleyball title last year with a perfect 8-0 record, but two All-Americans and four other key players graduated and left the cupboard a little bare.

Panic time? Not on your life.

Kirkwood finished another perfect run through the conference this season with a hard-fought 22-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-22 victory over 20th-ranked Northeast Community College Wednesday night at Johnson Hall to end the ICCAC campaign with another 8-0 mark.

"It's an awesome feeling," said Alexa Whipple, one of only three sophomores on this year's club. "We wanted to prove to ourselves that we could do it again.

"This year we had a fresh team," she said. "It's kind of cool, making a new team and stuff. It was a lot harder than last year, but it's still awesome."

The 13th-ranked Eagles (21-16) will host NIACC in the regional semifinals next Wednesday night.

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KCC spikers earn No. 1 seed for regional

IOWA FALLS - The 13th-ranked Kirkwood Eagles took care of business Wednesday night and earned the No. 1 seed for the regional volleyball tournament that will begin in two weeks.

Kirkwood swept Ellsworth, 25-17, 25-13, 25-11, to clinch at least a tie for the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference title with one match remaining in the league.

Kirkwood raised its conference record to a perfect 7-0 with the  victory. Iowa Central and DMACC are tied for second place at 6-1, but  the Eagles have defeated both of those teams and would get the No. 1  seed for the regional if the race ends in a tie. Kirkwood closes out league play at home next Wednesday against Northeast Community College.

Ady Wintermote led Kirkwood with 14 kills and 13 digs in the win over Ellsworth. McKenzie  Petersen provided 10 kills and Margaret Micka had seven.

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Eagles whip Tritons for ICCAC lead

The Kirkwood Eagles have taken a few lumps from some of the top volleyball teams in the country this year, but the Eagles keep  battling and they keep swinging.

It paid off Wednesday night.

The 16th-ranked Eagles swept 17th-ranked Iowa Central, 28-26, 25-17,  25-19, in a showdown for the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference lead Wednesday night with typical grit and determination.

Kirkwood fell behind by six points in the first set and trailed by three points in the next two sets as well, but the Eagles stormed back each time for the big victory over the Tritons.

"It was just finding our rhythm and getting after it," said freshman Ady Wintermote, who led Kirkwood with 15 kills. "Once we're in rhythm, we can be a really good team. We can put anyone to the test."

The Eagles have played 12 ranked teams this season and have a 4-8 mark in those matches, but the freshman-packed lineup keeps improving and now has the inside track for the conference title.

"Each game is a growing opportunity," said Wintermote, who starred at South Hamilton High School. "When we go up against ranked teams it's not, 'Oh, no.' It's a time to make a name for ourselves.

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