Saturday, March 25, 2017
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Usher helps Kirkwood reach national finals

HARRISON, Ark. - Kirkwood's quest for the national title and a perfect season is one step away.

Olivia Usher and Deleyah Harris popped in 17 points apiece Friday night as the top-ranked Eagles punished fourth-ranked Kankakee, 76-49, in the semifinals of the NJCAA Division II national tournament at Pioneer Pavilion.

Kirkwood (36-0) will face third-ranked Johnson County (33-2) in the championship game Saturday night at 7:30.

The Eagles survived a big scare in the quarterfinals Thursday against Cincinnati State, needing a late rally to escape with a 65-63 victory, but there was little suspense Friday.

Usher, a freshman from Cedar Rapids Prairie who averages 6.3 points, scored 12 points in the first half to help Kirkwood grab a commanding 40-21 lead at intermission and the Eagles took it home from there.

It took Usher only five seconds to score her first basket after Kirkwood controlled the opening tip. She finished with three 3-pointers in the game and had three assists.

The Eagles were sitting on a slim 19-17 lead early in the second quarter when they took control with a 16-0 run for a 35-17 bulge. Niaja Taylor got the spurt started with a follow shot, then Usher tallied inside and hit a 3-pointer to make it 26-17.



Axcell saves No. 1 Eagles at national tourney

HARRISON, Ark. - Megan Axcell hit the biggest 3-pointer of her life Thursday night to rescue the Kirkwood Eagles at the NJCAA Division II national tournament.

Axcell swished a 3-pointer from the corner with 34 seconds left to erase a 63-62 deficit and help the top-ranked Eagles nip Cincinnati State, 65-63, in the quarterfinals at Pioneer Pavilion.

Kirkwood trailed by eight points, 61-53, with less than four minutes left before mounting a furious comeback to keep their hopes alive of winning the national title.

Kirkwood (35-0) will face fourth-ranked Kankakee (30-2) in the semifinals Friday at 8 p.m. Johnson County will meet Monroe Community College in the first semifinal at 6 p.m., with the championship game slated for Saturday night.

The Eagles committed a whopping 26 turnovers and missed 11 free throws Thursday, putting their season in serious jeopardy, but they pulled  things together by outscoring Cincinnati 12-2 down the stretch.



KCC's Kinnaird wins national softball award

Kirkwood sophomore Lexi Kinnaird has been named the NJCAA Division II National Pitcher of the Week for her performances in games that were  played from March 13-19.

Kinnaird went 2-0 in her two outings for the Eagles and did not allow any runs in 12 innings. She struck out 26 batters, walked only two and allowed just two hits.

Kinnaird has a 9-1 record and 1.45 ERA for second-ranked Kirkwood this season. She has fanned 97 batters in 58 innings, with only four walks.

Kirkwood's scheduled doubleheader at Spoon River (Mo.) on Wednesday was called off due to inclement weather.


Kirkwood baseball team sweeps Marshalltown

MARSHALLTOWN - The Kirkwood baseball team swept a doubleheader from Marshalltown, 11-5 and 2-0, in non-conference games in Marshalltown Wednesday.

The sweep lifted the Eagles to 14-7 for the season.

General McArthur drove in three runs and scored three times in the 11-5 victory. Colin Kreiter and Lorenzo Elion had two RBIs.

Brody Alberts sparkled in relief for Kirkwood in the 2-0 victory in the nightcap. Alberts tossed five shutout innings, with seven  strikeouts, no walks and only three hits.

Korry Howell had two hits for the Eagles in the second game.


Kirkwood        233 001 2 - 11 6 1
Marshalltown    002 300 0 - 5 10 2


Kirkwood        000 001 1 - 2 6 0
Marshalltown    000 000 0 - 0 5 3


No. 1 Eagles stroll at national tourney

HARRISON, Ark. - The top-ranked Kirkwood Eagles scored the first 25 points of the second half Tuesday night and dumped Dakota College, 78-43, in the opening round of the NJCAA Division II national tournament.

Kirkwood (34-0) will face Cincinnati State (27-6) in the quarterfinals Thursday at 6 p.m. at Pioneer Pavilion in Harrison, Ark.

Kirkwood led 37-22 at halftime, but the Eagles did not play at a high level in the first half. That changed in the third quarter.

The Eagles poured in basket after basket in the third period, forcing turnovers and dominating the backboards. Olivia Usher made it a 30-point game at 52-22 with a three-point play and a 3-pointer, then Tay Tay Wilson and Simone Goods popped in 3-pointers to make it 58-22.

The bulge reached 40 points at 62-22 as Kirkwood took complete control of the game with the incredible 25-0 run.

Goods finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Wilson led the Eagles in scoring with four 3-pointers and 19 points.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 March 2017 04:59



Nearad belts 3 homers as Eagles sweep

FARMINGTON, Mo. - Taylor Nearad belted three home runs and drove in eight runs as the second-ranked Kirkwood softball team demolished Mineral Area College, 37-0, in the second game of a doubleheader Sunday.

Kirkwood won the first game, 6-0.

Nearad went 4-for-6 and scored six runs in the 37-0 onslaught. Morgan Frost was 5-for-6 with two homers and six RBIs. Angie McBeain was 4-for-6 with a homer, four RBIs and five runs.

Lexi Ferrari was 4-for-7 with a homer and three RBIs. Monika Bevans and Audra Bridenstine socked two home runs apiece.

All told, Kirkwood hit 11 home run in five innings in the 37-0 victory. The Eagles scored 11 runs in the first inning, 10 runs in the fourth inning and 10 more runs in the fifth.

McBeain (6-0) pitched a no-hitter with 13 strikeouts and one walk in the blowout.

McBeain also hit a home run in the 6-0 victory. Bridenstine had two hits and Nearad scored two runs.

Lexi Kinnaird (9-1) tossed a one-hitter with seven strikeouts and one walk in the opener.

Kirkwood raised its record to 18-1.


Kirkwood      010 120 2 - 6 7 0
Mineral Area  000 000 0 - 0 1 2

W - Kinnaird. L - Jones


Kirkwood      (11)42 (10)(10) - 37 30 0
Area Mineral   000 00 - 0 0 4

W - McBeain. L - Gardner.


No.2 Eagles sweep Culver-Stockton

CANTON, Mo. - The second-ranked Kirkwood softball team raised its record to 16-1 Saturday by sweeping a doubleheader from the Culver-Stockton junior varsity, 10-0 and 6-1.

Lexi Kinnaird continued to sparkle in the pitching circle for the Eagles. She fired a one-hit shutout in the first game with 13 strikeouts and one walk in the five-inning contest.

Kinnaird (8-1, 1.38 ERA) has struck out 100 batters in 56 innings with only four walks.

Maddie Hansen and Angie McBeain belted home runs for Kirkwood in the opener. Hansen was 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Taylor Nearad went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Morgan Frost and McBeain also drove in two runs. Lexi Ferrari and DoniRae Mayhew had two hits.

Audra Bridenstine went 3-for-3 for the Eagles in the 6-1 victory in the second game. Ferrari drove in four runs. Hansen was 3-for-4. Frost was 2-for-5 and scored three times. McBeain and Monika Bevans had two hits.

McBeain (5-0, 0.94 ERA) allowed one run on three hits, with seven strikeouts and three walks.


Kirkwood          260 20 - 10 12 1
Culver-Stockton   000 00 - 0 1 3

W - Kinnaird. L - Hager.


Kirkwood          221 100 0 - 6 14 1
Culver-Stockton   100 000 0 - 1 3 3

W - McBeain. L - Lancmann.


Kirkwood baseball goes 7-4 in Florida

VERO BEACH, Fla. - The 17th-ranked Kirkwood baseball team split a doubleheader with UConn-Avery Point Friday and finished with a 7-4 record on its spring trip to Florida.

The Eagles won the first game, 13-9, and were trimmed in the second contest, 5-4.

General McArthur had a big game for Kirkwood in the opener. He went 3-for-5 with two home runs, four RBIs and three runs scored. Korry Howell also belted a home run and scored four times.

Lorenzo Elion was 4-for-5 with three RBIs in the first game. Colin Kreiter and Ross Kramer had two hits and Kreiter had two RBIs.

Kirkwood scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning of the second game to take a 4-3 lead, but UConn-Avery Point scored twice in the top of the seventh for the 5-4 victory.

Kramer went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs in the second game.

Kreiter had two more hits.

Kirkwood will be returning from Florida with a 12-7 overall record.


Kirkwood            330 250 0 - 13 14 1
UConn-Avery Point   203 100 3 - 9 12 2

W - Long. L - Vincent.


UConn-Avery Point    100 011 2 - 5 9 0
Kirkwood             000 004 0 - 4 7 0

W - Leindecker. L - Verstegen.


No.17 Kirkwood baseball team splits

VERO BEACH, Fla. - The 17th-ranked Kirkwood baseball team split two games Thursday in Florida as part of its spring trip.

The Eagles were nipped by Westchester, 8-7, in their first game and topped the Ontario Blue Jays, 14-11, in their second contest.

The split left Kirkwood with an 11-6 record.

Korry Howell, General McArthur, Colin Kreiter and Toran Shahidi had two hits for Kirkwood in the 8-7 loss to Westchester. Ellison Hanna and Howell belted home runs.

Howell, Hanna and Lorenzo Elion had three hits in the 14-11 victory over Ontario. Hanna socked another home run. Joey Verstegen and Chili Moseley drove in three runs.


Westchester    000 080 0 - 8 10 1
Kirkwood       131 100 1 - 7 11 0

W - Gill. L - Miller.


Kirkwood        132 025 1 - 14 19 2
Ontario         020 009 0 - 11 11 2

W - Hummel. L - Liddell.


Muhl named 2017 National Coach of Year

Kirkwood Community College women's basketball coach Kim Muhl is the 2017 United States Marine Corps/WBCA National Junior/Community College Coach of the Year, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association announced Wednesday.

Muhl will be presented with the Pat Summitt Trophy, named for the late legendary University of Tennessee coach and awarded annually to the United States Marine Corps/WBCA National Coach of the Year in each of the WBCA's six membership divisions. The award will be presented during the 2017 WBCA Convention, which will be held in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four in Dallas.

"The WBCA is proud to name Kim Muhl as the 2017 United States Marine Corps/WBCA Junior/Community College National Coach of the Year," said Danielle Donehew, executive director of the WBCA. "Kim was selected as the winner by his peers after leading his team to an exceptional season. The WBCA recognizes and applauds his leadership example that can be seen in his student-athletes, institution and community."

In 28 years as head coach of the Eagles, Muhl has recorded 22 consecutive 20-win seasons. He has also tallied 24 regional finals appearances, 17 national tournament berths and six national titles.

This season Muhl led the squad to an Iowa Community College Athletic Conference regular-season title after finishing undefeated. His squad's record now stands at 33-0 after being crowned Regional Champions following a dominating performance in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XI tournament.

Muhl is a 14-time NJCAA Region XI Coach of the Year and also received the WBCA Russell Athletic Junior/Community College Coach of the Year award in 2007. In 2011, he was inducted into the NJCAA Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

The junior/community college national coach of the year is selected by a committee of coaches. This year's finalists were: Kevin Lynum, Northwest Kansas Technical College; Kim Muhl, Kirkwood Community College; Cayla Petree, South Plains College; and Betsy Specketer, Salt Lake Community College.

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