116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Tough competition leads to eighth place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament
After sweeping the Region XI-A Tournament, the Kirkwood Community College Volleyball team was ready for their next challenge. They entered the NJCAA D-II National Tournament in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. ranked #13 in a 16-team field.
Kirkwood first took on #4 East Central Community College in game one of the national tournament, Nov. 18. East Central defeated the Eagles twice in prior matchups this season. However, the women weren't going to let this affect their game.
East Central set the tone early, taking the first two sets 25-13 and 26-24, but the women kept fighting. Kirkwood came out firing in the next three sets winning 25-21, 25-21 and 16-14. Chanda Goedken (Farley, IA) was impressive for the Eagles with 20 kills and 23 digs. JoAnna Forkner (Marion, IA) and Amber Pitz (Farley, IA) added 10 kills and 16 digs respectively.
“The third time is the charm. We played very evenly with ECCC, and the team had confidence that we could win this match. Winning the first match keeps the door open for great things to happen,” said Head Coach Jill Williams.
After the big win, Kirkwood had plenty of momentum for game two against #12 Glendale Community College. Glendale came off a four set win in game one over #5 Parkland Community College, who issued the first loss to the Eagles this season.
Glendale jumped on top winning the first two sets 25-17 and 25-23, but Kirkwood rallied back to win set three 25-18. The Gauchos were too much for the Eagles as they took the last match 25-23, sending Kirkwood to the losers bracket.
In game three, the Eagles faced conference rival Iowa Lakes Community College. Iowa Lakes came into the national tournament with the #1 seed, but quickly lost in the first round to #16 Genesee Community College.
The Lakers quickly jumped ahead of the Eagles, winning the game in three sets (25-16, 25-19 and 25-11). The loss sent Kirkwood to its final game against Illinois Central Community College.
The women fought hard, but were only able to take one match from Illinois Central. Despite the loss, the Eagles ended their season on a positive note.
“To finish in the upper half of the teams participating at the national tournament is a great accomplishment. We set our goals and sights on that top spot, but have to be happy with all that we achieved,” said Williams.
Adding to these achievements, were Morgan Guge (Hiawatha, IA), Ashley Goedken (Dundee, IA) and Chanda Goedken. Guge and A. Goedken were recognized on the Region XI-A All-Tournament Team while C.Goedken received Region XI-A Tournament MVP honors.
Chanda Goedken, Jordynn Brackey (Lake Mills, IA), Kaylee Schulte (Cedar Rapids), Amber Pitz and A. Goedken and are among seven sophomores graduating this year. In two seasons, C. Goedken saw many accomplishments including ICCAC Athlete of the Week, NJCAA Second Team All-American, Region XI-B First Team All-Region, First Team ICCAC All-Conference and Kirkwood Freshman of the Year honors. Last season she led the team with 400 kills, but improved to 509 kills this season totaling 257 more than any other teammate.
Brackey, Schulte and A. Goedken had successful careers leading the team two consecutive years in aces, blocks and assists. Brackey served 41 aces while Schulte recorded 135 blocks and Goedken had 720 assists this season. Pitz led the team in digs with 461, and came in second last season with 483.
With sophomores leading the team, Williams believes these players will be missed.
“The sophomore class is a very balanced, talented group and they'll be tough to replace. They are great skill players, leaders, roll players and good all around individuals,” said Williams.
The Eagles close the 2010 season with an impressive 31-15 overall record with only one conference loss to Iowa Lakes. The women will resume play next fall.