Sandburg Stopped by Eagles in 1st Rd. of NJCAA Championship

  Aaron Frey
  Thursday, November 15, 2018 5:34 PM
  Athletics, Campus News

Charleston, WV

The Carl Sandburg College volleyball team got off to a slow start and was on the wrong end of a second-set run as Kirkwood (Iowa) swept the Chargers 25-14, 25-18, 25-13 on Thursday in the first round of the NJCAA Division II Championship.

The 12th-seeded Chargers (26-18) fell into a 9-1 hole to open the match and couldn’t recover against Eagles (33-8), the No. 5 seed in the tournament and seventh-ranked team in the country.

Sandburg will play in the quarterfinals of the ninth-place bracket at 11 a.m. CST Friday against 13th-seeded Moraine Valley, which lost in four sets to South Mountain (Ariz.) on Thursday. The Chargers and Cyclones faced each other Sept. 14 in the Waubonsee Tournament, with Sandburg taking a four-set victory.

Kirkwood took the first three points Thursday and, after a kill from Jordan Price (Fulton, Ill./Fulton) got the Chargers on the board, rattled off six more points for a 9-1 lead. Sandburg battled back to within six on a pair of occasions — the last at 21-15 after a kill from freshman Peyton Bowman (Sciota, Ill./West Prairie) — but the Eagles scored the next four to close out the first set.

“Even though we were here last year, I think we came out with a little nervous energy,” Chargers coach Todd Winkler said. “Once we settled down, we hung with them in the first set, but that start really cost us.”

Sandburg got off to a strong start in the second, using a pair of kills from Hannah Thompson (Blandinsville, Ill./West Prairie) to jump to an 8-4 advantage. The Chargers extended their lead to 14-8 after back-to-back kills by sophomore Josalyn Owens (Lincoln, Ill./Lincoln), but the Eagles responded with a 10-0 run to grab a lasting lead in the set.

“We got into a tough spot in our rotation, and they took advantage of it,” Winkler said. “We needed to find a way to get some side outs there, but things just snowballed on us instead. It really changed the momentum of the match.”

A Thompson kill pulled Sandburg within 10-7 in the third, but Kirkwood answered with three straight kills to extend its lead and wasn’t threatened again.

Bowman, second in the nation in hitting percentage, had a team-leading 13 kills on 20 attacks along with 1½ blocks to lead the Chargers. Thompson added seven kills. Freshman setter Cora Vyhnanek (Colchester, Ill./West Prairie) had 27 assists for Sandburg, which hit .159 for the match.

Alexa Aldrich-Ingram had a match-high 19 kills for Kirkwood. The Eagles had just five attack errors while posting a .524 hitting percentage for the match.

“Kirkwood played a heck of a match, but it’s always frustrating when you get to a point like this and feel like you didn’t play your best,” Winkler said. “The good news is we get another chance to play our best tomorrow. We just have to shake this one off and put together a great effort against Moraine Valley.” 

NJCAA Division II Volleyball Championship Bracket

NJCAA Division II Volleyball Championship Tournament Central

Volleyball vs. Kirkwood 1

Carl Sandburg College freshman Cora Vyhnanek goes makes a tip against Kirkwood defenders Abbi Tunis (12) and Sami Johnson during the second set of their match in the first round of the NJCAA Division II Volleyball Championship on Thursday afternoon at the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, W.Va.


Volleyball vs. Kirkwood 2 

Carl Sandburg College sophomore Hannah Thompson goes up for a kill attempt against Kirkwood’s Lauren Keane during the second set of their match in the first round of the NJCAA Division II Volleyball Championship on Thursday afternoon at the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, W.Va. 

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Aaron Frey