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Saturday, April 29, 2017
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Metro Sports Report

Brrr ... Diebold lifts Saints by Hawks

When the wind-chill temperature dips into the mid-40's and there's a frigid gale whipping across the field, the last thing anyone wants is a soccer match that goes into overtime.

Paige Diebold spared all the fans who brought their winter coats, stocking caps and blankets to John Wall Field Thursday night when she scored the only goal as Xavier blanked Prairie, 1-0, in a Mississippi Valley Conference match.

Diebold connected from about 30 yards with 29 minutes, 17 seconds left in the second half when she lofted a shot that eluded the Prairie goal-keeper and nestled softly into the back of the net.

"We connected all the way from the back and then the shot was open," Diebold said about her clutch goal.

And the weather?

"You get warm when you give it your all," claimed Diebold, who wore soccer shorts like all the other players. "It was really windy, but the whole team kept up the pressure the whole game. We were able to  keep attacking."

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Hansen making bid for JUCO Triple Crown

OTTUMWA - Taylor Nearad made a serious bid for the Triple Crown in junior college softball last year.

Now it's Maddie Hansen's turn for Kirkwood.

Hansen went 4-for-5 and belted two home runs Wednesday as the  top-ranked Eagles swept a doubleheader from Indian Hills, 9-2 and 5-1, in Ottumwa.

Hansen is batting .557 with 15 home runs and 72 RBIs. She leads all NJCAA Division II players in RBIs, is tied for second in home runs and  is third in batting average.

Nearad is not far behind her teammate. She went 4-for-8 with two home runs and four RBIs Wednesday and is hitting .527 with 15 homers and 63  RBIs.

Nearad has socked 45 home runs in two years at Kirkwood, tying the school mark set by Kayla Tatge in 2012 and 2013. Nearad hit 30 homers  last year to break the single-season record.

Kirkwood originally was scheduled to play DMACC Wednesday in a showdown for the conference lead, but that doubleheader has been switched to Friday in Boone.

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Kirkwood Eagles land 6-foot-10 center

COUNCIL BLUFFS - Council Bluffs Lewis Central senior Kyle Arrington has a dream to play Division I basketball, and he believes Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids can help him achieve that dream.

The 6-foot-10 Titan star went between dominant and unstoppable  during the course of his senior season when he averaged 15.3 points,  grabbed 12.2 boards and blocked 58 shots, helping the team to a 16-6 record.

However, he was under-recruited by four-year schools possibly due to  a pair of knee injuries sustained during his junior and senior seasons. In order to build his profile and game, he recently committed to Kirkwood Coach Bryan Petersen.

The Eagles won the NJCAA Division II national championship in 2016 and finished 25-7 last season, losing to eventual national champ Southwestern, 98-90, in Region XI title game.

"I worked out with one of their assistant coaches," Arrington told KMA Sports, "and I just liked the way he knew how to work out a big. He actually knew what he was talking about. That obviously intrigued me to want to get better with him."

Arrington said he was also impressed with the school.

"Usually community colleges are one or two buildings," he said. "Kirkwood has a four-year feel to it. The facilities and the team and everybody on campus is second to none. It's going to be a fun experience."

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Saints drop thriller to Lions

The Xavier boys soccer team was short-handed Tuesday night with two of its top players unable to play against Linn-Mar, but there was nothing short-handed about their spirit and determination.

The Saints fell to the Lions, 2-1, in a marathon PK shootout that took nine players to decide at Linn-Mar Stadium.

Xavier is ranked No. 2 in Class 2A and Linn-Mar is ranked No. 16 in Class 3A, but there wasn't much difference between the two Mississippi Valley Conference powers on a drizzly night in Marion.

Thomas Bean, who leads the Saints in scoring, had to serve a one-game suspension after receiving a red card in Xavier's last match against Cedar Rapids Washington when he said something to a friend on the Washington team that apparently was misinterpreted by an official.

Will Hannigan, the No. 3 scorer for the Saints, missed the match with an injury suffered last week against Iowa City West, taking another top player off the field.

The Saints simply shuffled a few players around and came within a whisker of winning the match.

"We stretched as much as we could in the game," said Xaiver Coach Amir Hadzic. "We had as many open looks as Linn-Mar had. Too bad those  shots - Luke's particularly - didn't go in. That's a hard deal."

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Kinnaird, McBeain shine for No. 2 Eagles

Angie McBeain is technically the No. 2 pitcher for the Kirkwood softball team, but that's more of a designation than a true ranking.

The truth is, the second-ranked Eagles have two star pitchers.

Lexi Kinnaird, a sophomore and one of the most successful pitchers in school history, pitches the first game of Kirkwood doubleheaders and thus is listed as the No. 1 pitcher.

McBeain, a freshman and a rising star, normally pitches the second game of doubleheaders and thus is the No. 2 pitcher, but only because she has to wait her turn.

Kinnaird, who leads the nation in victories and strikeouts, has a 20-2 record and 1.27 earned run average, with 204 strikeouts and only nine walks in 132 innings.

McBeain, who has never lost a game in college, is 16-0 with a 1.48 ERA, with 93 strikeouts and only 20 walks in 80 1/3 innings.

The dynamic duo worked their magic again Monday.

Kinnaird tossed a four-hit shutout as the Eagles blanked 16th-ranked Iowa Lakes, 7-0, in the first game of their twinbill at the Kirkwood field.

McBeain, who pitched a perfect game in her last outing, tossed a one-hitter this time as the Eagles won the nightcap, 12-0, in five innings.

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