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Lady Eagles sophomore forward Kirk boldly going to goal like never before

NIXA'S LONDON KIRK works with the ball in between two Republic players at Districts last week.
NIXA'S LONDON KIRK works with the ball in between two Republic players at Districts last week.

London Kirk has added her name to Nixa’s seemingly endless list of talented underclassmen.

The forward has enjoyed a breakout sophomore season, while pushing her goals total from four a year ago to 23 this spring entering the Lady Eagles’ Class 4 District 5 championship match opposite Kickapoo tonight.

Coach Evan Palmers feels Kirk has shown as much improvement this season as any of his players.

“London has been phenomenal,” Palmer said. “Last year, she struggled around the goal. She had a bunch of chances, but couldn't finish. She was trying to score spectacular goals. A lot of players want to put that perfect 90 shot in. But all you've got to do is slide it in.

"This year, she's known when she to go, when to shoot and when to pass,” he added.

“I think I'm being more aggressive around the goal area and finding the back of the net better,” Kirk said.

Along the way, Kirk has re-gained her confidence.

“I had a lot of confidence when I was younger,” she said. “I kind of lost some of that. But I think I'm working to get it back.”

Kirk has joined teammates Shaelee Franck and Brooke Teter to give Nixa three player with 20 or more goals. The Lady Eagles aree averaging 5.0 goals a match, which is their highest norm offensively going back 15 years.

“More people are scoring this year and that helps us a lot,” Kirk said. “Last year two people scored most of our goals.” 

The diminutive Kirk most often is giving up size in battles with opponents for possession of the ball.

“I get pushed off the ball sometimes,” she said.

When Kirk gains control of the ball, she utilizes her exceptional speed and quickness to get around defenders in a blur.

"She's so fast and so quick with the ball," Palmer said. "She's kind of deceptive. You think you have it and she will get to the ball a split-second before you and keeps going.”

Palmer adds London’s sister, Lilly, plays with the same style.

“Both of them play fearless,” he said. “They’re fun to watch.”