JACKSONVILLE, Ill. -- Senior Hannah Lester led the way for the Simpson volleyball team with two double-digit kill efforts on Saturday in losses against Illinois College and Trine to end the Illinois College Invite.
The Storm fell 3-1 in the opener to the hosts, and lost a hard-fought battle to the Thunder, 3-2. Simpson moves to 1-2 to start out the 2019 season.
Illinois College 3, Simpson 1
Set Scores: 20-25, 25-20, 15-25, 12-25
The Storm dropped the opening set 25-20, but came back in the second set to tie it 1-1. In the second, Lester had two early kills to give the squad an early 3-1 advantage, before they broke it open several points later. It was sitting at 12-10 and Simpson went on a 6-2 streak on the back of four kills from the Storm offense and two miscuses from Illinois College to widen the cushion.
Simpson went up by as much as seven in the set and Lester closed it with another kill. In the following set, both teams were held close with the Lady Blues holding a 5-4 edge before rattling off five of the game's next seven points to go ahead further and would ultimately take the set, 25-15.
Illinois College hung tough in the fourth and would claim the victory. Lester would finish with 15 kills and eight digs. Niya Harris tallied seven kills and 11 digs, while Alyssa Mathews added 32 assists for the second match in a row.
Trine 3, Simpson 2
Set Scores: 20-25, 25-19, 25-27, 25-21, 15-9
In the final match of the weekend, Simpson had to go all five sets to decide the winner, but Trine prevailed at 3-2. It was a battle through the whole contest, with both teams trading sets early one at 1-1.
During the third set, the Thunder pulled off the long rally and won by two at 27-25 to go ahead 2-1. Simpson would take the fourth to force a fifth, but fell 15-9.
Lester was on-point at the net and fired a .567 hitting percentage with 17 kills. Madison Fleer followed order and amassed a double-digit kill effort with 10, which is a career-high for the junior.
The Storm travel west to Hawaii to compete in the Pacific University Invitational on Sept. 7-8. Simpson will compete against Pacific and Wells in a four-match weekend.