CEDAR RAPIDS — For the third time in four years the Kirkwood volleyball team has punched its ticket to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament. The No. 7 Eagles clinched their spot Sunday sweeping Metropolitan Community College, 25-15, 25-22, 25-18, at Johnson Hall.
Coach Jill Williams raved about the local talent and the competitive edge her team has brought all season.
“We are built around a bunch of local talent and kids that love to play the game,” Williams said. “They come here and they just keep getting better.”
Kirkwood had a difficult road to earn a spot in the district final. They had to fight to earn 5-set victories against Des Moines Area Community College and Iowa Central.
“They are tenacious, they are a bunch of competitors, they love to win,” Williams said. “When I do drills in practice it doesn’t matter what we are doing they love to win. Our sophomore leadership has gotten a lot better. That leadership role just kept getting better and I think that built our chemistry and I think with good team chemistry amazing things can happen.”
The Eagles have been playing their best ball of the season as of late, winning their last seven out of eight games. Williams knows the team is catching fire at the right time.
“I think we knew there was room for growth and we did not want to peak too early so we had a couple of bumps along the road,” Williams said. “We had some early losses but nothing that set our minds back that we couldn’t beat these teams and just knew at the end of our season what our path would be and we just had to believe in what we were doing.”
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Williams has been to the national tournament before and is enjoying the moment and expects the team to compete.
“Once we get there we will see the seedings. We keep taking it one day at a time and our schedule has put us in a position to know most of the teams that are there and I think we can go and compete.” Williams said. “Our big goal is knowing that we are prepared.”
The tournament is Nov. 15-17 in Charleston, W.Va.
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