PELLA, Iowa -- In the first American Rivers Conference match of the season, the Simpson volleyball team fell 3-2 at Central on Wednesday.
The Storm (4-5, 0-1 A-R-C) went up 2-1 through the first three sets, but dropped the next two to lose to the Dutch (9-3, 1-0 A-R-C) in Pella, Iowa.
The opening set was a battle for both squads, but the Storm would win 25-23. Simpson hit a game-high .219. In set two, the Dutch were up the whole set to win 25-21 on the back of 18 kills and a .208 hitting clip.
In set three, Simpson cruised to a six-point victory at 25-19 to move to 2-1. Both teams had struggles hitting in set four as the Storm hit .026 and Central had a .132 hitting percentage. The hosts would win 25-17 to force a fifth set.
Simpson had an opportunity to win the fifth and final set. The Storm surged to a quick 4-1 lead before the hosts came back to tie it at 5-5. The teams kept pace with one another and moved it to 8-8, but a kill by Megan LeMay ignited a 3-0 rally to make it 11-8 with match point nearing. With the set sitting at 14-12 in favor of Simpson, Central went on a 3-0 run of its own to make it 15-14, but the stretch was ended with a serving error to put the game at 15-15. The Dutch would win 17-15 after two straight points off an attack error and kill.
Hannah Lester had her eighth double-digit kill effort this season with 12 against the team's rival. Alyssa Mathews had 35 assists from her setter spot and chipped in on the defensive side with 17 digs, her most this season. Along with Mathews, three others had double-digits dig performances, Ariana Martinez (19), Niya Harris (15) and Emmalyn Pratt (10).
The Storm compete in the Central/Grinnell Invitational this weekend with the first match starting on Friday at 5 p.m. against Concordia Chicago in Grinnell, Iowa.