116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - The Kirkwood women's volleyball team advanced to their seventh NJCAA II tournament in the last 12 years - and third in as many seasons - with a 25-9, 25-12, 25-16 sweep of East Central College inside Johnson Hall on Saturday afternoon.
'I feel like, as of lately, we're playing the best we've played all year,” said Maggie Peters, a sophomore middle who graduated from Cedar Rapids Jefferson in 2019. 'The more I see us doing so well, the more I believe. Coach just told us yesterday that we have the opportunity to put another banner on the wall with gold letters.”
Hanging banners is the standard at Kirkwood. Adding gold to them is the cherry on top.
'To be on the wall is important to us and to be on the wall with color, really makes it special,” head coach Jill Williams said. 'To find it within them to make a big push the last couple weeks says a lot about them and their character. That's the part I enjoyed, being with a bunch of characters.”
One character on Williams' squad is Peters, who just turned 20 last week but who already knows she wants to make a career out of being a positive figure and has started by leading by example for her three siblings, 10-year-old Addison and 14-year-old twins Chase and Brianna - the latter of whom Maggie coaches on the C.R. Surge, a travel volleyball squad.
'I love being their role model,” Peters said. 'That's why I want to be so successful and win a national championship.”
A huge fan of her hometown, there is another reason why Peters may play another year for the Eagles, with COVID-19 creating an additional year of eligibility.
'I want to be a WWE wrestler,” Peters said. 'I'm going to this wrestling academy in Davenport next year in May. I don't know how it'll go but ...”
That's why Peters believes it may make the most sense to finish her volleyball career at Kirkwood instead of transferring to a four-year school where she doesn't yet see a clear future the way she does with pro wrestling.
'It's just always what I've seen myself doing, because it's athletic and you get to travel and work out,” Peters said. 'That's your job. I can't see myself doing anything else.”
What kind of character she'll be isn't quite as clear.
'I hate dressing up,” Peters said, 'but I don't know if I can pull off the (bad guy) vibe. We'll have to figure it out.”
There is one thing of which Peters and Williams are certain - they are headed to the national tournament, hosted by the Alliant Energy PowerHouse on April 13-15, with some confidence.
'I think we, athlete for athlete, can compete,” Williams said. 'It's more about what we do than our opponent anyway.”
With four more victories, the Eagles (18-4) would get their banner with gold letters, and Peters would be able to bask in championship glory with her teammates in her favorite city.
'I love everything about Cedar Rapids,” Peters said. 'The Crunch Berry smell ... love it.”