Storm sweeps Duhawks in straight sets

by Ben Frotscher

Simpson volleyball got back on the right track this past weekwith a straight-set victory over Loras, 3-0.

The Storm used solid offense and defense to put together a biglate-season win that helped build not only experience, but alsoconfidence for an extremely young team.

“It was nice to get a win,” volleyball coach Lana Smithsaid.

The team got itself off to a good start in first set by winning30-20.

“It was very important [for us to come out strong],” juniorSarah Pearson said. “We’ve been improving consistently.”

Simpson went on to win the second set 30-19, but struggled earlyin the third set. The team rebounded quickly and put away theDuhawks 30-21 for the win.

“We came out and played sharp,” Pearson said. “We capitalizedoff of their mistakes.”

The win improved Simpson’s record to 14-18 overall and 3-4 inthe Iowa Conference. Leading the way for the Storm was seniorShannon Stewart with 22 kills and 10 digs. Junior Ashley McGraw andsophomore Jessica Martin added 17 and 11 digs respectively.

Smith’s team has battled hard this year but has dealt withsporadic losing streaks. The volleyball team has seen losingstreaks of four, five and six this year, but it has also puttogether winning streaks of six and four.

“It’s been a combination of a few things,” Smith said. “We havebattled a few injuries and illness, and we are also a fairly youngteam.”

Sophomore Jessica Martin agreed with Smith. She said the teamhas struggled to gain experience together because of injuries.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries this season,” Martin said. “Wehaven’t had a set line-up this season, and we’ve also played a lotof tough tournaments.”

The key for Smith has been to find the right formula for playingsuccess, which may have been found in the game against Loras.

“We’re using a new defense this year and also had a new offensefor that game,” Smith said. “We were a little more fluid andsteady.”

Wins help a team’s confidence, and Smith hopes that her team canbuild on this win to make a run at the conference tournamentchampionship Nov. 5-6 at the University of Dubuque.

“I believe we can still win that [conference championship],”Smith said. “We definitely can play and beat anybody.”