DUBUQUE, Iowa – The Simpson volleyball team has performed well in its three years in the IIAC-NACC Crossover Challenge, and this weekend proved no different as the Storm swept all four of their matches.
The third annual inter-conference clash featured Iowa Conference schools, Luther, Loras, Dubuque and Simpson. The Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference brought Marian (Wis.), Lakeland, the Milwaukee School of Engineering and Benedictine (Ill.) to the challenge in Dubuque.
Storm setter Sara Hoppenworth was named to the all-tournament team after finishing the weekend with 181 assists, 10.65 per set.
Match 1: Simpson 3, Marian (Wis.) 1 (25-17, 25-15, 19-25, 25-17)
Simpson (9-8) was led by 14 kills from Jacqueline Luth and another 12 from Mackenzie McGraw as the Storm took their first match of the weekend. Sara Hoppenworth generated 41 of Simpson's 45 total assists in the match.
The Storm hit .333 in the first set and .400 in the second to jump out to a 2-0 lead on their way to a 3-1 win over the Sabres.
Match 2: Simpson 3, MSOE 2 (25-23, 12-25, 21-25, 27-25, 16-14)
Four players notched double-digit kill totals as Simpson stormed back from a 2-1 deficit to beat the Milwaukee School of Engineering in five sets.
MSOE hit .238 to Simpson's .128, but Simpson saved a .348 hitting percentage in the final set. Tabitha Blaser had a match-high 17 kills and Hoppenworth served up 48 assists to fuel Simpson.
Match 3: Simpson 3, Lakeland 1 (25-20, 19-25, 25-17, 25-20)
Another all-around effort helped push the Storm past the Muskies, 3-1.
Blaser hit an efficient .391 on her way to 19 kills. Luth, McGraw and Torey Buenger all had double-digits in kills and Hoppenworth posted 55 of Simpson's 60 assists.
The Simpson defense was also formidable, generating seven blocks while five players chipped in with at least 13 digs, led by 27 from Olivia Sulentic.
Match 4: Simpson 3, Benedictine (Ill.) 1 (21-25, 25-16, 25-23, 25-16)
Benedictine hit .452 in the first set to jump out to a 1-0 lead but Simpson swept the next three for its second win over the Eagles in 2015.
McGraw had a game-high 14 kills, Buenger hit .438 for nine kills and Hoppenworth assisted on 37 to turn the match around.
Iowa Conference schools went a perfect 16-0 on the weekend … Simpson has now participated in the IIAC-NACC crossover for the third consecutive year and has swept all four matches in two of those seasons … the Storm are 10-2 all-time in the challenge.
Simpson plays its home opener against Iowa Conference foe Buena Vista on Tuesday, Sept. 29. First-serve is set for 7:30 p.m.