INDIANOLA, Iowa -- Head coach Lana Smith wanted her team to focus on playing with more energy going into Friday's match against the league's No. 2 team.
Her team responded with the biggest win of the season.
Morgan Taylor and Lexie Parks combined for 23 kills, Alyssa Mathews polished off a big night with the match-winner in the fourth set and the Simpson volleyball team shocked Dubuque 3-1 at a rocking Cowles Fieldhouse. Simpson won by set scores of 25-18, 24-26, 25-19, 26-24.
"The energy we brought from the very first point helped us get through this match," Smith said.
Mathews filled the stat sheet with seven kills, 43 assists and 15 digs for the Storm (8-15, 2-5 American Rivers), getting the match-winner off a well-placed dig that caught Dubuque off guard. The second-place team in the league, the Spartans (18-8, 4-2) saw their conference-best seven-match winning streak come to a close.
The Storm kept their conference tournament hopes alive, but need a win over Loras on Saturday to remain in the conversation.
HOW IT HAPPENED
First Set | Simpson took a 3-2 lead on a Megan LeMay kill and never looked back, setting the tone for the match in a 25-18 set one win. LeMay, Parks and Taylor all had four kills to lead the way for the Storm, who created separation with a 3-0 run midway through the set. Hannah Lester had back-to-back kills as Simpson took a 17-13 lead.
Second Set | Simpson faced a 24-20 deficit before rattling off four straight points, but kills by Rylee Andresen and Paige Harbort gave Dubuque the 26-24 win.
Third Set | Simpson held a slim 16-15 lead when Mathews dumped a set over for a score, sparking a 6-1 run that proved to be the difference in the set. Ariana Martinez placed a service ace during the run and Parks and LeMay teamed up for a block to give Simpson a comfortable 22-16 lead. Taylor came up big with six kills in the set.
Fourth Set | A back-and-forth affair, Simpson opened the set with four straight points before Dubuque answered with five straight. An Andresen kill gave Dubuque a 24-23 lead, but a strategic timeout prompted a service error. Matthews gave Simpson the lead when she pushed a set to the vacant Spartan back row. Her match-winner came off a dig where she laid out, got her left fist on the ball and sent it over the net in front of the Spartan back row.
Simpson hosts Loras in the American Rivers Conference finale Saturday at 11 a.m. The Storm need a win to have a shot at qualifying for the conference tournament.