Young volleyball team used season to build experience


by Brett Crable

The Simpson College Volleyball Season has come to an end sooner than the team would have liked, but it was by no means a season to hang heads over.

The Storm finished the year with a 12-22 overall record and 1-6 in conference this year. However, they did end the season with a 3-1 record in the Augustana Invitational, which they can look to build off of for next year.

Despite the outcome of the season, Coach Lana Smith was very pleased with the progress, dedication, and ethic that her team showed this year, especially with how young the team was.

“The girls worked hard every day so it was an easy season for a coach in that regard,” Smith said. “The girls had great team chemistry and always had each other’s back.”

Due to the youth of the team this year and lack of experience, it figured to be a building year for the program. Despite losing three seniors in the mix this year, the Storm look to return many players, but again they are going to be a younger team in the conference next year.

Smith saw a lot of upside to this year’s team as well as several areas which could have used some improvement to give them a solid opportunity to get to the Iowa Conference Tournament.

“This might be the first team where we had a great balance attack and we had multiple girls hitting over 200 in given matches,” Smith said. “It was one of the better statistical seasons than we have had in a while. Some of the weaknesses that we had were injuries, and we had way too many errors. We couldn’t take care of the game like we should have.”

Smith would have liked to get to the conference tournament much like the players, but she is excited for what the future holds for the program.

Senior Steph Keller was disappointed by how the season resulted and had high expectations, especially considering the fact that it was her final season at Simpson, but she enjoyed her experience and time playing here while it lasted.

“I feel like everyone on the team felt that we should have gotten to the conference championship, but the Central game definitely hindered our accomplishment to get to that next level,” Keller said.

Senior Caitlyn Shiek, who has been a key part of the program for the past four years along with Keller and McKaylie Croghan, is going to miss the sport that she has played much of her life and made many relationships along the way.

“I am going to miss playing since I have been playing for 11 years, and I am going to miss seeing my friends every single day on and off the court,” Shiek said.

While the season was bittersweet, the Storm developed much of their youth and saw many bright moments this year to build upon for next season. The team will still be young next year, but with the hard work, dedication, perseverance and excellent team chemistry that they showed, it looks to be a good one.