Ajak, a 6-foot freshman from Des Moines, confirmed Wednesday night that she suffered a torn ACL in her left knee in a win over Southwestern on Feb. 11 and has been lost for the season. Her surgery is scheduled for Monday.
Kirkwood collected another blowout Wednesday with an 85-37 victory over Southeastern Community College at Johnson Hall, but Muhl knows the Eagles will face stiff competition if they reach the national tournament and compete for the national title.
Kirkwood (27-0, 11-0) has not been pushed by too many teams this season, but Muhl is confident they'll respond to the challenge when the time comes and kick into a higher gear, even without Ajak.
"With this group, I think they can," he said. "They've got a pretty strong mental approach to the game. They know what's at stake.
"They bought in, they guard and they really pass the ball to each other."
Ajak, a key reserve on a deep and talented club, was averaging 8.1 points and 3.7 rebounds when she got hurt. She watched Wednesday's game in street clothes with her crutches nearby.