INDIANOLA, Iowa - Steph Keller connected on a career-high 24 kills and Simpson had a stellar night serving in a much needed, 3-2 (29-27, 22-25, 25-17, 15-25, 15-10) win over Cornell on Wednesday night.
The win gives the Storm (8-13, 1-4 Iowa Conference) their first win in league play and puts them in the hunt for a spot in the conference tournament. Simpson is one of four teams - including Cornell - with one conference win.
Keller hit .227 and surpassed her previous career performance by 10 kills. Megan Dunlavy added 16 kills and Ashley Padget handed out a season-high 51 assists, eclipsing the half-century mark for the second time this season. Audrey Schuttler also turned in a career-high with 29 digs.
Caitlyn Shiek's five service aces led the Storm to 14 in the match, the most the season and the most by a Simpson team since 2006.
Kathleen O'Connor had 24 kills and hit a game-high .300 for the Rams (14-4, 1-3), who suffered their sixth-straight setback to Simpson.
Facing set point in the opener, Keller slammed her eighth kill of the set to even the score 27-27. An ace by Kim Rogers gave the Storm a 28-27 lead and an attack error on Cornell's Taylor Dicus closed the door on a crucial first set win.
The second set was knotted at 22 before a kill by O'Connor and back-to-back aces by Kylea Weber allowed the Rams to even the ledger.
Simpson controlled the third set, leading from wire-to-wire with the help of a 7-3 run that made the score 18-9. Simpson led by as much as 10 before a kill by Keller closed the eight-point win.
Simpson started out hot in the fourth set, racing to a 4-0 lead. But the Rams mounted an 8-0 run to flip a 10-8 deficit into a 16-10 lead they wouldn't relinquish, forcing a fifth set.
The deciding set was tied 7-7 before the Storm rattled off six straight points, highlighted by a pair of aces from Shiek and a tandem block from McKaylie Croghan and Lauren Martin. Up 14-10, Keller put the finishing touches on the win with the final kill.
The Storm have the weekend off before returning to conference play against Wartburg (17-5, 5-1) on Wednesday, Oct. 12 in Waverly. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m.