CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- The Simpson volleyball team has been picked eighth in the American Rivers Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, as announced by the league office earlier this week. Defending regular season and tournament champion Wartburg is the favorite to win the conference this year, followed closely by a newly coached Luther team.
Twentieth-year head coach Lana Smith is just seven wins shy of becoming the winningest coach in program history, and is returning 12 letterwinners and five starters from her team that went 9-17 last year and finished eighth in the conference with a record of 1-7.
Among the returners is all-IIAC middle hitter Hannah Lester, who accounted for over 20 percent of Simpson's total kills in 2017. She finished with 233 kills and led the team in hitting percentage (.258) and total blocks (93).
Simpson opens the regular season on the road in Northfield, Minn. on Aug. 31 against Hamline. The Storm's first home match is Sept. 4 against Grinnell at 7:30 p.m. at Cowles Fieldhouse.
1. Wartburg (25-6, 8-0)
2. Luther (16-10, 6-2)
3. Dubuque (28-7, 5-3)
4. Coe (14-16, 4-4)
5. Nebraska Wesleyan (11-17, 3-5)
6. Loras (12-15, 3-5)
7. Buena Vista (22-10, 5-3)
8. Simpson (9-17, 1-7)
9. Central (9-24, 1-7)