Volleyball swept in four matches at Trinity (Texas) Invite

by Brock Borgeson, Sports Editor

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Despite being eliminated from the Iowa Conference Tournament almost two weeks ago, the Simpson volleyball team knew their would be some silver lining.

It would get to travel to the warmth of San Antonio, Texas to finish their season with four matches at the Trinity Invitational.

Unfortunately, the heat didn’t translate onto the court for the Storm, who were swept in four straight matches over the weekend, concluding their season 1-9 in the last 10.

Friday, Oct. 30

Match 1: Trinity 3, Simpson 2 (20-25, 25-16, 20-25, 25-12, 15-8)

Simpson exploded to hit .515 in the first set on its way to a 2-1 lead but Trinity (20-11) responded with a .333 kill percentage over the final two sets to complete the comeback. 

Individual stats weighed heavily in favor of Simpson who had three players over double-figures in kills.

Tabith Blaser had a match-high 15 kills, Niki Dean matched a season-high with 13 and Mackenzie McGraw added 11.

Other Match-Highs:

Erika Edrington (Trinity) – 48 assists

Sara Hoppenworth – 39 assists

Olivia Sulentic – 31 digs 

Match 2: La Verne 3, Simpson 2 (12-25, 25-20, 27-25, 11-25, 15-9)

For the second straight match Simpson couldn’t close after attaining a 2-1 advantage as it fell to No. 18 La Verne (20-5). 

The Storm played competitive against a top 25 opponent, but the Leopards played the best when it counted most, hitting .500 in the final set to secure the win. 

McGraw led Simpson with 13 kills, although Destinee Sales (14), Brittany Yaxley (13) and Ashlyn Cross (13) each put up stellar offensive performances. 

La Verne also had 66 digs to Simpson’s 44 and hit .168 points better. 

Hoppenworth had 35 assists for Simpson.

Saturday, Oct. 31

Match 3: Mary Hardin-Baylor 3, Simpson 0 (25-19, 25-9, 25-18)

Simpson was a lot less competitive in day two of competition, starting off the day with a shutout loss to the Crusaders (17-9). 

An anemic -.018 kill percentage did Simpson in as Shelby Russell led the Cru with 15 kills.

McGraw’s seven kills was the most for any Storm player.

Match 4: UT-Dallas 3, Simpson 0 (25-11, 25-18, 25-14)

UT-Dallas (27-2) showed why it  is the No. 19 team in the nation – hitting a season best .407 to topple the Storm in their season finale.

The Comets hit .529, .314 and .448 respectively in the dominating win.

Dean had a team-high eight kills, Hoppenworth had 21 assists and Sulentic dug out 21.

The offseason:

Simpson finished the year 12-21, tied for the fewest wins in head coach Lana Smith’s 17-year tenure with Simpson. 

The Storm will lose Blaser, Hoppenworth, McGraw and Sulentic to graduation, all of whom were considerable contributors.