Stewart served volleyball honors


by Laura Dillavou

Since the fourth grade, junior Shannon Stewart has had a passion for volleyball. That same passion guided her to the Simpson volleyball program where most recently, she was named as the Iowa Conference MVP and to first team All-Conference.

Playing for the Urbandale J-Hawks throughout high school, Stewart succeeded early on. As a junior, she received an honorable mention all-conference team, and as a senior, was named to the first team all-conference.

“When trying to do better, I look at what my teammates are doing. If I see something I like, or that I think I can do, I’ll just try my best to learn from them and get better at it myself,” said Stewart.

Her teammates and coaches have also influenced her playing over the years.

“My coaches see something in me and try to bring it out. They give me the confidence and push to try harder and go to that next level of play,” said Stewart.

Throughout the season, Stewart has continued to bypass previous Simpson volleyball records. She has recorded 1,045 kills and 939 digs, and only looks to surpass those numbers. Stewart was also named to the all-tournament teams at the Elmhurst, Wartburg, Simpson, and Emory Invitationals. At the Wartburg Invitational, she was named the tournament MVP, however, that award did not surprise her as much as being named Iowa Conference MVP.

Stewart found out about the award while sitting in her room with her friend and fellow teammate, Rachael Spree.

“Matt Turk called us and said that both Rachael and I had made first team all-conference. That was a nice surprise, but when he told me that I had been named MVP, I was in total disbelief,” Stewart said.

While Stewart recognizes her success, she is quick to acknowledge those that have helped her reach this point.

“I think the whole team deserves an award, not just me. We work so well together on and off the court, and that makes such a difference,” she said.

When looking ahead to next year, Stewart focuses on the key elements of training and volleyball. During the off-season, all volleyball players have a weight lifting routine, as well as recommended cardio.

“Besides working out at least four times a week, I just try and get my hands on a volleyball as much as possible,” she added.

Obviously, Stewart’s hard work and dedication have paid off, as she has become the first Simpson volleyball player to receive the MVP award since 1994. Stewart, along with junior Jamie Cusick will be the team captain for the 2004-05 season.

“Next year, I just want to stay positive on the court and really be a good role model and leader for the other girls,” said Stewart. “And of course, I want our team to win the Conference title and go to Nationals.”