INDIANOLA, Iowa — The wait is over for Storm athletics. The fall sports are all underway, and athletes around campus are getting back into that winning mentality. From football and soccer to cross country and volleyball, Simpson athletes are ready to do what they do best — chase the “W.”
Labor Day weekend was busy for all the current Simpson athletes. The cross country season started strong with their win at home on Sept. 1 at Pickard Park. Trey Thompson, junior, and Sadie Timms, senior, won their respective races with solid efforts.
On the men’s side, the Storm accounted for seven of the top nine spots to accompany Thompson, including senior Ian McKenzie, who finished just five seconds after Thompson for a second-place finish.
Timms led the way for the women, followed by senior Courtney Neuendorf with a third-place finish, a strong performance for the Storm in both races. The competition may not have been the toughest, but it was a good start for a team that hopes to see a lot of top finishes in the coming season.
“Our conference has been dominating our region for the last three years,” head coach Heath Moenck said. “Last year, five of the top seven teams in our region were from the IIAC conference, so being in the top five in the conference is definitely a goal for both men’s and women’s this year.”
That race was the team’s only home meet, but they will run again at the Grand View Invitational on Sept. 15.
On the turf, both men and women soccer teams started their seasons this past weekend. The women travelled to Grinnell for a non-conference matchup. In the 17th minute, Grinnell went up 1-0 and held that lead until they matched it in the 56th minute to put Grinnell up 2-0 early in the second period. The Storm put three shots on goal, but none found the back of the net. Senior Riley Adams, Storm goalkeeper, faced eight shots on goal and made six saves in the loss.
With 27 women playing, head coach Jill Serafino said they expect to play around with several different schemes this year to see what works best and creates a more dedicated team.
“The hope for the team this year is to focus on everything that is in our control,” Serafino said. “That carries through day to day.”
After going 2-6 in conference play last season, and 3-11-3 overall, the Storm are hoping to take opponents by surprise.
“We’re coming in as an underdog, and I kind of like being in that spot,” Serafino said. “It gives us the opportunity to upset some teams and surprise some people.”
The women will play at home on Wednesday, Sept. 6 against Grand View to begin their home season.
The Storm men got off to a better start this weekend as they travelled to Chicago to take on a ranked opponent to start the season.
Freshman goalkeeper Jake Potratz shined in the 1-0 win over No. 25 Wis.-Whitewater with 11 saves. The lone goal came midway through the second period when sophomore Tanner Alderson found the back of the net on one of five Storm shots on goal.
The men continued their successful weekend with a 3-2 win over Illinois Tech. Finishing the weekend 2-0 as a team, the Storm brought home the tournament championship, along with offensive and defensive MVP’s from Alderson and Potratz respectively.
The Warhawks of Wis.-Whitewater have qualified for the NCAA tournament in each of the last three seasons and Isaacson expects them to continue that tradition.
“We want to continue ascending as the season plays out in hopes that we are peaking when the postseason arrives. The goal every year is to win the Iowa Conference,” head coach Rick Isaacson said. “We believe it’s a disservice to our program to shoot for anything less.”
Also on the turf, the Storm football team opened their season this weekend against Wis.-Stout at home. A slow game for both teams left it only a 7-0 lead at halftime for Stout. That lead quickly grew after a couple Simpson mistakes which led to a 10-point third quarter for Stout. With a 17-0 lead going into the last quarter, the Storm got back into Stout territory twice but saw both opportunities disappear after a fumble at the goal line and a turnover on downs after a would-be touchdown got called back for illegal touching.
One upside of the loss was the chemistry between quarterback Sam Sasso and wide receiver Jackson Redmond, both seniors. Sasso threw for 259-yards in his first start for Simpson while he found Redmond for 128-yards on 10 receptions. The defense was also able to corral two Wis.-Stout interceptions on their 32 attempts.
“They made opportunities, and we didn’t,” head coach Matt Jeter said. “We were our worst enemy today, and playing against a team like Stout, you can’t do that.”
The Storm will stay home on Saturday, Sept. 9, to face Illinois College in the second of three consecutive home games to start the season.
Also in action this weekend, the women’s volleyball team travelled to Puerto Rico to face off in the Puerto Rico Clásico. Falling in their first two matchups, the Storm fought back on Sunday to finish the weekend 2-2. The team will travel to Nebraska this weekend to face three teams from the area in the Nebraska Wesleyan Invitational.
The women’s tennis season got underway this weekend as well. With a pair of strong performances by Megan Bradley, senior, and Sierra Griffith, sophomore, winning two matches 6-3, the Storm women walked away victorious starting the season 2-0. With wins over Monmouth (Ill.) and Knox to start the season, the team looks to continue their success into the season when they travel to Dubuque to face the University of Dubuque and Loras to begin conference play.