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Upset-minded Eagles

By Dexter White
On September 14, 2012

  • Freshman Alison Wintermote (No. 7) spikes the ball against Cowley College on Sept. 7 at home in the Kirkwood Invitational. Kirkwood fell to Cowley, ranked No. 1 in the nation, in four sets. Photo by Sheridan Moore
  • Sophomores Ashley Gonzalez (No. 12) and Courtney Busch (No. 8) go up for a block against Cowley College on Sept. 7 in Johnson Hall. Photo by Sheridan Moore


The Kirkwood Community College volleyball squad cemented itself as one of the top teams in the nation, amassing a 13-4 record and the No. 8 spot in the NJCAA national ranking early in the season. 

Kirkwood began its conference schedule on the road against Marshalltown on Sept. 11. The Eagles moved to 1-0 in the ICCAC with the win in three sets, 25-17, 25-13, 25-11.

The Eagles posted a 3-1 record at the Kirkwood Invitational held in Johnson Hall on Sept. 7 and 8. The lone loss came on Sept. 7 at the hands of No. 1 in the nation Cowley County Community College from Kansas. Kirkwood gave Cowley a run but lost the game in four sets. 

In the first set the Eagles hung tough but found themselves trailing 13-20 late in the set. After a timeout, the Eagles scored four points in a row and were right back in the competition.  Cowley's lead slowly deteriorated until the score was tied at 23 but the final two points of the match went to the Tigers. 

Kirkwood came back strong, winning the second set 25-18. The two teams were deadlocked in the score until midway through when Kirkwood got the crowd on their feet cheering by scoring a 5-0 run to go ahead 20-15 and the Eagles never looked back. 

In the third set, the teams traded leads early on. Kirkwood began to pull away after an ace by freshman Cali Beyer, Liberal Arts emphasis, gave the Eagles an 11-10 lead. Kirkwood's advantage grew to five points after sophomore Alexus Litts, Accounting emphasis, placed the ball over the net between two Cowley defenders, raising Kirkwood's lead to 21-16. 

Sophomore Ashley Gonzalez, Liberal Arts Science emphasis, scored a kill to set the Eagles up for the match point, 24-21. However, Cowley showed why it's the number one team in the nation as they scored the final five points to win, 26-24. 

The Eagles came out flat in the beginning of the fourth set and fell behind 7-15. With their backs against the wall, the Eagles demonstrated their resiliency as they fought back into the game to within one point at 23-24. Freshman Taylor Rathbone, Culinary Arts emphasis, scored two kills in a row to rally Kirkwood's comeback. Cowley scored the match point to survive the scare from the Eagles.

Kirkwood was victorious over McHenry County College, Kishwaukee College and East Central College at the invitational. The Eagles handled McHenry in three sets, 25-11, 25-15, 25-13. Sophomore  Brittany Ambler, Dental Hygiene emphasis, served for the Eagles on a 10-0 run in the first set. The Eagles beat Kishwaukee in three sets, 25-20, 25-10, 27-25, and disposed of East Central College in three sets, 25-17, 25-15, 25-16.

In the home opener for the season, Kirkwood defeated Grand View University's junior varsity squad on Sept. 5 in three sets, 25-15, 25-13, 25-16. Gonzalez had three kills in an 8-0 scoring run in the third set.

Kirkwood takes on Southeastern Community College in its next home game on Sept. 19.

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