Volleyball seniors lead by example


by Bryan GeelanStaff Writer

The seniors on the Simpson volleyball team are few in number, but their impact is immeasurable.

Tiffany Everding, Jessica Martin and Janay Michel comprise the senior class. They have helped lead the Storm to an 18-9 record on the season thus far, as Simpson sits at third place in the conference.

Everding, a graduate of Tripoli High School, has started for the Storm as an outside hitter since her freshman year in 2003. In her career, she has amassed more than 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs, becoming only the sixth Simpson player to accomplish the feat.

Martin, a middle hitter for the Storm and an alumna of South Tama High School, has also been in the mix since her freshman year. Throughout her career, Martin has achieved numerous honors, including a first team All-Conference selection and being selected for third team ESPN magazine’s Academic All-District VII as a junior.

Martin had to adapt to a position change early in her career, but she took the change in stride and hasn’t looked back since.

“Martin came in as an outside hitter, and as a freshman we had an injury early in the year at middle,” said Head Volleyball Coach Lana Smith. “We put her in at middle hitter and from there she has gotten better and better at playing middle and has played there since her freshman year.”

Unlike Everding and Martin, Michel has only been with the Storm for two years. Following her senior year at Farragut High School, she attended Wayne State for one year before she transferred to Southwestern Community College. It wasn’t until her junior year that Michel settled on Simpson.

“I really like the girls in the program a lot,” Michel said. “I’ve had a lot of fun here, especially this year.”

While being a senior usually translates into being a leader by default, this senior class embraces the leadership role.

“We haven’t always had seniors that have been leaders,” Smith said. “Tiff and Jess especially are good, positive leaders and not controversial leaders.”

Having played together for four years, Everding and Martin have a chemistry that provides stability to the Storm lineup.

“It ads consistency and dependability to know how each other plays and knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Martin. “We feed off of each other well.”

Having been vital parts of Storm Volleyball for the past four years, Everding and Martin have had their fair share of fond memories. Despite the personal accolades each player has amassed, both agree on what the biggest highlight of their career has been up to this point.

“The win over Central was awesome,” Everding said. “We have been playing together our whole careers but we have never gotten to experience beating them until then. It was a total team effort.”

Martin agrees with her teammate.

“After three years of not being able to beat them, to open up with them and have a huge crowd and play such an exciting game was overwhelming,” Martin said. “It really set the tone for the season.”

The volleyball seniors of 2006 have set a precedent for Simpson Volleyball. This is an accomplishment that goes beyond the numerous team and individual achievements, leaving some big shoes to fill.

“The people in our program now know what it’s going to take to fill those roles,” Smith said. “But those kids are just irreplaceable.”