Changes to offense, players taking next step for Simpson volleyball

by Hunter Hillygus, Sports Reporter

When you don’t see the results you aspire to and you lose key members of your team, you either adapt or get left behind.

After a 13-20 2014 campaign, changes were needed.

Making changes and adapting is exactly what head volleyball coach Lana Smith has done.

Employing a brand new offense and players that have taken another step in their games, the Storm are ready to fight for a tournament spot in the IIAC.

“This year is a brand new year. We’re running a brand new offense, a 6-2. We’re using the strengths of the players we have on the right side, and it’s working for us,” Smith said.

Crucial to a team’s success are the young players who step up and perform.

Jacqueline Luth, the team’s 2014 Freshman of the Year and second on the team in kills, is one of those players who Smith feels has taken the next step with her game.

“Over the summer, she worked extremely hard. She’s really grown her game, and she’s physically become a lot stronger. She’s playing a really great six rotation for us right now where we can use her offensively and defensively. She’s gained a lot,” Smith said.

However, with every team, there is a senior leader for the young players to model themselves after, and the Storm are no exception to the rule.

A three-time all-IIAC performer and the team’s leader in kills, Tabitha Blaser is that leader.

“She’s a leader for us in a lot of different areas: emotionally for sure as teammate, as a performer and having experience with our program,” Smith said. “She’s one of those people everyone on our team can rely on for all kinds of things on and off the court.”

Despite all of the positives in the program right now, there are still improvements that need to be made.

“Right now I would say finishing matches is our weakness. We run everyone to 16, 17, 18 points. We just need to get that “finish it” type of attitude,” Smith said.

Despite a relatively slow start, the expectations for the rest of the season haven’t wavered.

“Our expectations are to finish strong. There’s a little more parity in the conference than what we thought going in, so I think are chances are still really good to compete for a tournament bid,” Smith said.