Storm set sights high

Storm set sights high

by Amy JohnsonStaff Writer

The Simpson volleyball team and fans already have plenty to be fired up about, and the season has barely begun. The American Volleyball Coaches Association ranked the Storm 25th in a preseason poll and also gave the Storm the AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2008-2009 volleyball season.

“We’re pretty excited,” coach Lana Smith said. “We have high expectations on the year with 99 percent of our team returning.

“This team made the NCAA Division III National Tournament last year. These kids are driven to win conference, and we’re looking forward to a competitive season.”

The Storm returns five of their six starters with a lot of young talent looking to step up and play at the varsity level. Six seniors return for their final season with the Storm: setter Tara Christensen, libero Brittany Friesth, outside hitter Lara Gillespie, middle hitter Whitney Oviatt, outside hitter Maggie Schuttler and libero Rebecca Westphal.

Christensen is an All-American setter and floor leader. Friesth recently overtook the top spot as Simpson’s all-time digs leader when the team traveled to Washington in early September. Also while in Washington, junior hitter Amy Schuster landed herself a spot on the all-tournament team.

“We have a good team again this year and with that, high expectations,” Oviatt said. “We’re planning on going far. We have good chemistry as a team, and we all get along great both on and off the court.”

The girls have set high standards for themselves and their team for the year. With so much experience returning to the court, Simpson looks to go beyond last year’s expectations and results. Christensen and Oviatt had the same basic ideas: win the Iowa Conference and conference tournament, and make it to Nationals.