Simpson picks up two, five-set wins at Wartburg

Simpson picks up two, five-set wins at Wartburg

WAVERLY, Iowa – Tabitha Blaser had 29 kills on the day and the Simpson volleyball team edged out five-set wins over Bethel and Gustavus Adolphus the Friday at the Wartburg Knights Classic.

The Storm (7-14) came back to beat Bethel (22-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-21, 15-9) and held off Gustavus after winning the first two sets (25-20, 25-23, 14-25, 24-26, 16-14).

"We were much improved offensively today," head coach Lana Smith said. "Our passing was solid which allowed for a balanced attack. We battled and won some long rallies."

McKaylie Croghan led four players in double figures with 14 kills against the Royals. Lauren Martin buried 11 kills and hit a game-high .409 while MacKenzie McGraw and Blaser added 10 kills apiece.

Down two games to one in the fourth set, Simpson broke a 19-19 tie with three straight points, highlighted by a pair of service aces from Kira Klepel.

Katie Kieffer had 52 assists and Kim Rogers led the way with 22 kills.

Blaser had a season-high 19 kills and hit .429 in the win against Gustavus. Croghan and McGraw added nine kills apiece.

Kieffer closed her solid day with 45 assists and Kim Rogers had 15 digs.

"It was good to get two wins today against two historically strong programs," Smith said.

Simpson closes the tournament Saturday when it faces a pair of Minnesota Conference opponents. The Storm take on St. Olaf at 10 a.m. and finish with St. Thomas at 2 p.m.

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