Conference tournaments right around the corner

by Alysun O'Brien


The Iowa Conference tournament is quickly approaching for the Simpson volleyball team, but the team needs to stay focused on the upcoming Loras and Wartburg matches first.

“We need to beat Loras and Wartburg,” said Head Coach Lana Smith. “It’s key for us to get in a winning mode going into our conference games.”

The team is coming off a winning weekend in Monmouth, Ill., where it won all three of their its and are hoping to continue that into this week’s play against Iowa Wesleyan and Loras.

The women have high hopes going into the conference tournament and realize the conference matches leading up to that point will be very important in the tournament’s outcome.

“Realistically we could beat every team because every team is beatable,” said senior Jessica Nauman.

The Storm is coming off of an 18-12 overall record and 5-2 in conference play.

The season has had its ups and downs, but with wins over teams like Elmhurst, who was rated no. 2 when the team beat them, has helped the Storm keep a winning attitude throughout the season.

Some of the key players for the season include Nauman, along with seniors Katie Weisz and Annika Gustafson. Each of the three has been a starter for the past four years and has remained an important component going into their final year of collegiate competition.

“These (Nauman, Weisz, and Gustafson) women have been very key to our success,” said Smith. “They are the main leaders on the court.”

The women are hoping for lots of positive fan support during the last round of matches before Conference play to help carry the winning attitude into tournament action.

Men’s soccer

One game against long-standing rival Central on Oct. 31 will determine the conference seeding of Simpson’s men’s soccer team.

“A lot is riding on this game,” said senior Matt Edgington. “It could make the difference of getting the number one seed or the third or fourth seed.”

The men’s last regular season game is played at 2 p.m. in Pella on Oct. 31. The team is hoping that many student fans will make the trip to give support in earning the no. 1 seed in the conference.

“Central is undefeated, so it would be great to get some student support,” said Edgington.

The Storm is sitting with an overall 13-3-2 record and a winning 7-1 in the conference. The team is coming off of a 3-0 win at Cornell this weekend, helping it stay focused for the upcoming match.

“We have been playing very well,” said Head Coach Aziz Haffar. “We need to remain confidant and beat Central to get the number one seed in the conference tournament.”

Even with three of last year’s starters not playing this season due to injury, the men’s team is still playing well and hopes the aggressive play continues as the team goes into the Central game and the conference tournament.

“Everyone is doing what they need to do for a win,” said Edgington. “And everyone is doing a great job at their positions.”

The conference tournament will begin Nov. 5 and could be hosted at Simpson. It will go into the weekend with continued play in Waverly.

“We need to approach each game as though it’s the final game,” said Haffar. “There is no second day.”

Women’s soccer

The Simpson women’s soccer team needs a win at Central this afternoon to get a higher seed in the conference tournament.

“The women have got to win to get a number three seeding,” said Head Coach Aziz Haffar. “After our loss to Cornell we put ourselves in a situation of a must win.”

The women are returning from Cornell this past weekend with a loss of 2-3. The team is hoping to revamp the winning spirit at Central and also its home game against UW-LaCrosse, being played Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

“Central is a game we have to win,” said senior Tracie Whitney. “It’s a big game for two reasons: conference tournament and it’s our rival.”

The Storm is now at an overall record of 13-3-1 and a conference record of 6-2, with hopes of moving that to 7-2 after today’s game at Central.

The top four teams that are expected to be in the conference tournament will be Luther, Loras, Cornell and Simpson.

“Out of us top four (Luther, Loras, Cornell and Simpson) any of us could win the conference championship,” said senior Ashley Wilson. “Each one of us has beaten another once, so no one will have a straight shot at winning it.”

The women are looking for revenge this afternoon against the Dutch after the conference loss to Cornell. “We had a wake up call losing to Cornell,” said Haffar.

“We can definitely beat Cornell, we just need to eliminate our mistakes.”

The team feels it has the talent to succeed in the conference tournament, it’s just a matter of everyone playing together.

“We all have the capabilities and potential to win this tournament,” said Whitney. “Once we get it all put together we will be awesome.”