INDIANOLA, Iowa — Morgan Taylor had a career-high 18 kills, Hannah Lester hit better than .300 for the third straight match and a resilient Simpson volleyball team came back from one set down on two occasions to beat Buena Vista in five sets Tuesday night in the home opener.
Lester finished with a season-high 16 kills, including seven in the final two sets as the Storm (4-5, 1-1 Iowa Conference) kept from falling out of the conference race early with a big win at home. The sophomore middle hit .636 without an error in the final two sets, getting four kills in four attempts in the deciding fifth.
Iowa Conference kills leader Jade Schaap led the way with 18 kills in 50 attempts for the Beavers (6-6, 1-1), who lost their fourth match in a row.
20-25, 25-19, 24-26, 25-18, 15-12
Set 2: Rather than fold up the tents after the first set loss, Simpson came back strong, building a 12-2 lead behind Taylor's tough serving. The Storm went on a 10-0 run to take control of the set, then withstood a late rally with a kill by Lester on set point.
Set 3: Buena Vista trailed 24-23 before three straight kills gave the Beavers control of the match. Schaap, Allie Cooke and Jamie Navinskey helped give Buena Vista 2-1 lead in the match.
Set 4: Simpson closed the set on a 13-6 run, highlighted by an ace from Hoefling that broke a 12-12 tie and sparked a 3-0 spurt. Simpson didn't trail the rest of the set.
Set 5: The set was tied 12-12 before Lester came up with the go-ahead kill to give Simpson a 13-12 lead. Taylor added an insurance tally and a Buena Vista error closed out the win.
"We asked our players to respond to situations and they worked hard in practice to stay competitive. Our players did a great job making adjustments we asked of them. This was a good win for us." — head coach Lana Smith
Morgan Taylor — 18 kills, 49 attacks, 12 digs
Hannah Lester — 16 kills, .364 pct, 4 blocks
Cassie Hoefling — 13 kills, 10 digs, 4 aces
Alyssa Mathews — 45 assists, 13 digs, 2 blocks
Jacque Luth — 7 kills, 15 digs
• Simpson snapped a three match losing streak against Buena Vista, improving to 42-12 in the all-time series.
• Simpson held Buena Vista to just .156 hitting on the night after the Beavers came into the match hitting .222, the second-most efficient team in the Iowa Conference.
• In her last three matches, Lester is hitting a blistering .341 with 38 kills and just nine errors. Her 16 kills Tuesday matched a career-high.
• Mathews' 45 assists are a season-high and the second-most in her career. She had 47 in a three-set win over Iowa Wesleyan on Oct. 18, 2016.
The Storm travel to Wisconsin for the weekend to compete in the Ripon Quadrangular. Simpson will face Finlandia on Friday, Sept. 22 before closing the weekend Saturday against Wis.-River Falls and the host Red Hawks.