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5A-4A volleyball co-athlete of the year: Taylor Simpson, Doherty
While Doherty’s volleyball team had a season full of success and some turmoil, the one constant for the Spartans was Taylor Simpson.
The senior came back from an August trip to Singapore for the inaugural Youth Olympics and led her team to the 5A state semifinals with strong play and senior leadership, and for that she is The Gazette’s 5A-4A Co-Player of the Year, an honor she shares with friend, club teammate and 5A Metro rival Nikki Glass.
Simpson filled the stat sheet, finishing with 471 kills (third in the state), 307 digs and 88 blocks.
“Doherty is such a great school, I’m so glad that I went there and I made some awesome friends,” Simpson said. “Going there has cultured me and I’ve overcome adversity that will help me in the future.”
The biggest testament to Simpson’s importance came at regionals, where the Spartans advanced to state despite missing half their team due to suspension.
“We lost seven people, but it was amazing to bring together the seven we had left and make it to state,” said Simpson, who averaged more than 20 kills in the regional matches.
Simpson is now looking ahead to the next step — a scholarship to play volleyball at Nebraska.
Cornhuskers coach John Cook spoke highly of Simpson, one of just three incoming recruits for a program that has sold out every home game since 2001 and has three national titles in the past 15 years.
“She is someone with enough international and big-game experience to come in and compete right away,” Cook said in a press release.
Simpson understands that nothing will be handed to her in Lincoln, Neb.
“I will definitely have to fight for my spot there, but the atmosphere is so great,” Simpson said. “The fans are awesome and everyone has so much Huskers spirit.”