ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Despite a solid performance in the weekend's final match, the Simpson volleyball team closed play at the Augustana Pumpkin Bash without a win.
Simpson lost to William Penn 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-22) in the first match of the day before falling to the Host Vikings in five (28-26, 18-25, 26-28, 25-23, 15-7). The Storm are now 14-11 entering the final week of the regular season.
"The team is focused on our conference match Wednesday and making the conference tournament," head coach Lana Smith said. "We will rebound after the adversity we faced this weekend."
The Storm close the conference schedule Wednesday, Oct. 30 when they host Dubuque on Senior Night. At 2-4 in the Iowa Conference, Simpson controls its tournament fate. Coe (6-0), Wartburg (6-0), Loras (4-2) and Luther (3-3) are in. Simpson sits in fifth place, ahead of Buena Vista, Central and Dubuque, who are all 1-5. A win on Wednesday assures Simpson a No. 5 seed in the six-team IIAC Tournament and its first appearance in the tournament since 2010.
Despite going without a win, Simpson got a lift from freshman middle hitter, Torey Buenger. After playing sparingly for most of the season, Buenger posted 19 kills and hit a team-high .347 with three blocks on the weekend.
"Torey was a terrific asset for us this weekend," Smith said. "She has really grown into the college game and continues to improve each week.
William Penn 3, Simpson 0
Kylie Giger had eight kills and hit .500 as the Statesmen avenged a 3-1 loss to Simpson on Oct. 7. Buenger had eight kills and hit a match-high .583 to lead the Storm. Haley Danforth chipped in with nine kills and Kat Wetjen added seven.
"We just weren't focused," Smith said of the loss to William Penn. "We made too many unforced errors."
Augustana 3, Simpson 2
Simpson saved its best game of the tournament for last, but the result remained the same. Tabitha Blaser (11), Buenger (10) and Wetjen (10) all reached double figures in the loss. Katie Kieffer split setting duties with Rebekah Kimzey, finishing with 21 assists and four aces. Kim Rogers had 27 digs and Blaser added 25.
Martha Murray had a match-high 15 kills to lead the Vikings (16-11).
"We were more created against Augustana and balanced with our offense, posting some of our season bests," Smith said.