JACKSONVILLE, Ill. -- The Storm volleyball team notched their first opening day victory since 2016 by winning in straight sets (25-23, 25-18, 25-16) over Rockford on Friday at the Illinois College Invite.
Senior Hannah Lester led all players with 13 kills for a .269 attack percentage. Freshman Niya Harris had nine kills in her debut on the team to finish in second behind Lester. Of the team's 37 assists, 32 were handled by senior Alyssa Mathews.
The defense was a wall for Simpson (1-0) and held the Regents (0-1) to a .049 hitting percentage. The defense produced 60 digs, 18 by junior Ariana Martinez
Simpson jumped out to a quick 8-2 advantage in the opening set with the help of two kills by Lester. The Regents were able to cut the deficit in half at 10-5, but the Storm stretched the advantage to 12-5 after a kill by Megan LeMay.
Before the first set was over, Simpson kept the cushion at six points at 21-15, but Rockford went on a rally and reeled off five-straight points to draw the game to within one. With the set on the line at 24-23, Sudmann was able to tally the team's 14 attack of the set of a pass from Mathews to give the Storm the opening-set win.
The Regents came out hot in the second set and went up 3-0, but Simpson was able to turn the tide and went up 17-7. Harris was able to close the door with a kill to put the Storm up 2-0. In the third set, both teams were tied up until 6-6 and Simpson went on a roll to push the lead to 17-11. Mathews racked up the squad's ace to finish off the three-set victory.
The Storm return to action tomorrow and take on the invite's host, Illinois College (1-0) at 10 a.m. Following the match, Simpson plays Trine (2-0) at noon.