INDIANOLA, Iowa -- On the opening night of the Simpson Quadrangular, the Storm volleyball team began play with a sweep of Principia while securing their highest hitting percentage of the season at .330 Friday night.
Simpson (6-7) was on a roll against the Panthers (4-7) all evening and en route to the sweep, did not let the visitors score more than 16 points in a set, and maintained the lead all contest.
The Storm had even distribution throughout the lineup and had four players with at least eight kills in the victory. Niya Harris led the charge with 12, while Megan LeMay and Taylor Sudmann both had nine, and Hannah Lester sprinkled in eight to help the cause. Alyssa Mathews and Marissa Salber helped with those stats by dishing out 23 and 12 assists, respectively.
In the first set, it was neck and neck through the first 10 points at 5-5 before Simpson went on a 7-2 run to make it 12-7. Principia made a little run itself and brought the set to within two at 15-13, but a LeMay kill ignited a 5-0 run to push it to 20-13. The Storm forced a few more errors and eventually won the set 25-14.
Coming out of the break, the squad went ahead, 4-1, early in the set. In a three-point game at 8-5, Simpson embarked on another run, this timing stretching it to 14-5 with the help of three kills by Harris. The Storm would keep the rally going and take the set, 25-12. The team had its most kills of the night with 17 and forced the Panthers to hit -.071.
During the third and final set, the game was sitting at 4-4, but another kill by Sudmann pushed the Storm to four straight points for another gap. Principia fought back and brought the game to an 11-11 tie, but like many other times before in this match, a Simpson kill ended the run, this time at the hands of Harris. The team went on a 10-2 run to close out the battle with a 25-16 victory to secure its third sweep of the season.
On the defensive side of the net, the Storm had five total blocks, as Lester had three block assists and Harris contributed two block assists. Ariana Martinez used her quickness for 11 digs in the back row. Simpson allowed Principia to hit just -.037 for the night.
The Storm continue the Simpson Quadrangular tomorrow morning, with their first match at 11 a.m. against Saint Benedict. In the afternoon, Simpson will take on Wisconsin-River Falls around 3 p.m.