To some volleyball is just a game. To others volleyball is something that holds a lot more meaning. These Simpson College senior volleyball players have devoted years to this sport.
Simpson College’s volleyball team looked to add win number nine on the season heading into the game against Coe College on Oct. 11. More importantly, the team wanted to honor seniors Hannah Lester, Alyssa Mathews and Taylor Sudmann.
After starting strong in the first set, ultimately the Simpson Storm fell to the Coe Kohawks. The seniors showed off their abilities that night as Lester delivered five kills and four block assists, Mathews dished out 14 assists and Sudmann would not let herself be outdone, striking with four kills.
Coe took all three sets with the scores 25-16, 25-13 and 25-14 to seal the victory. While the team may have lost, the legacy the seniors of the squad will leave behind is all the more crucial to the team.
“This group of seniors have been very instrumental in developing our younger players,” head coach Lana Smith said in an email. “Hannah and Alyssa have been four-year starters and have worked hard to develop our play along with Taylor, who just joined us a year ago.”
“It’s just a game, it’s all fun and games and I feel like I’ll be around volleyball for the rest of my life, but you can’t dwell on the past,” Lester said.
Lester racked up the accolades through her four years as a starter. She had the highest hitting percentage of any Simpson player since 2011.
“Team chemistry has been invaluable,” Lester said. “There has been no drama, and I’m so thankful for that.”
All three seniors have all been letterwinners for Simpson during their time on the team.
“Our seniors have been outstanding leaders on and off the court. They have been performance leaders and excellent teammates,” Smith said.
“I’ve played volleyball since I was in middle school and up to now. I got to continue to play at the collegiate level, which is not an opportunity that everyone gets,” Lester said. “I think I’ll be around volleyball the rest of my life, whether that is coaching or playing in an adult league at the Y or something.”
The impact that the seniors have left will leave vast opportunities for the younger team members to step into, which will not be easy, but Coach Smith believes in her team.
“Our younger players know they have some big shoes to fill next year. Our senior class has been special to Simpson volleyball. The younger players have learned and have grown from the senior class leadership and I think are hungry to compete to fill the big shoes next year,” Smith said.