Wednesday, August 12, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

No. 19 Eagles rally past No. 11 Tritons

The Kirkwood women's volleyball team could be on the verge of  borrowing the same script that last year's club followed during a  bumpy ride.

If so, the 2019 season could have the same happy ending.

The 19th-ranked Eagles rallied to hand 11th-ranked Iowa Central its  first loss in the ICCAC Conference this year with a determined 24-26,  25-18, 29-31, 25-18, 15-9 comeback victory in an entertaining match at  Johnson Hall.

Just like last year, this year's team has experienced a bunch of ups  and downs and probably will not win the league title. And perhaps just  like last year, this year's team might get hot at the right time and  make a long run in the national tournament.

The Eagles finished fourth at nationals last year. They've already  defeated top-ranked Parkland this year despite a few disappointing  performances, so maybe they'll make their mark when the postseason  tournaments begin Nov. 2.

Can the Eagles make another run? "I hope so," said sophomore Taylor Carey. "We will!"

Carey is one of only five sophomores at Kirkwood this season, along  with 10 freshmen, so she knows what's possible if the Eagles stick  together and have a positive attitude.

"Our record may not show it, but we're ready to play and we're a  really good team," she said. "We're such a great team and we can  really play with anyone when we put our minds to it. We're not worried."

Kirkwood is 19-9 overall and 3-3 in the conference. That's not bad,  but Coach Jill Williams always has high expectations for her program  and knows the Eagles have let a few matches slip away this season.

Not Wednesday, even though the Eagles squandered numerous  opportunities when they let that third set against Iowa Central slip  away 31-29 in overtime.

They stormed back by winning the last two sets with emphasis.

"I really felt good about our energy," said Williams. "Our confidence  showed up again tonight.

"We've spent time in the last week talking about our identity. We keep  talking about total effort, and with that comes confidence."

Anna Gorsich led the Kirkwood attack with 22 kills and 16 digs. Abbie Ericson had 11 kills, Carey 10, Aubrin Dittmer nine and Peyton  Brokovich eight.

Maranda Wheelock made 20 digs. Olivia Richards, who missed the past  few weeks with a sprained ankle, returned to action and contributed 16  digs, four aces and stability in the back row.

"It was great to have Olivia back out there," said Williams. "She's a  go-getter."

Madi Wagaman had 15 digs. Ericson blocked seven shots.

Iowa Central fell into a three-way tie for first place in the  conference with Northeast and NIACC at 5-1. The Tritons are 23-4  overall.


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