Sophomore Danielle Simpson was named Honorable Mention All-Conference, while fellow sophomore Heather Taylor was named to the All-Sportsmanship Team. Regular season conference champion Christopher Newport garnered the most spots on the team with eight players earning recognition. The Captains also received the Player, Libero, Rookie, and Coach of the Year Awards.
Simpson led The Pride in digs this season with 509 and looked strong in several other statistical categories as well. In addition to her defensive prowess, she tallied 101 kills, 49 assists, 34 serving aces, and three blocks. She had a career high 10 kills against both Ferrum and Guilford, as well as a season best 29 kills against Roanoke.
As a freshman, Simpson recorded 546 digs and was named Third-Team All-USA South. Her 546 digs last season were good enough for second best all-time in one season at GC and 509 this year places her in third place as well. She was also named to the All-Tournament team at the Averett Invitational and garnered two All-Tournament team selections this season.
The libero/outside hitter has already had a great career at Greensboro and is still only in her sophomore year. Last season she set GC records for digs in both three and four set matches. She recorded 40 in three sets against Bridgewater and 31 against Roanoke in four sets. Her 4.48 digs per game last season is also a GC record. After two seasons, he 1055 digs places her at 10th on the GC all-time leaderboard. She also placed second all-time in games with double-digit digs last season with 28 and added another 24 this season.
Head coach Jean Lojko was proud of the sophomore. “Danielle was the most consistent and best player on the team all year. It doesn’t matter if she is having a playing well or playing poorly, it is a great day for her when she gets to play volleyball. She is an excellent role model for all the girls on her team because of her passion for the game and she is willing to play anywhere.”
Simpson’s willingness, and ability to play anywhere, was extremely useful to a team that struggled with injuries at times this season. Although she started the season playing libero, she was forced to move to outside hitter when The Pride’s strongest attacker was sidelined with injury. She was able to play in 34 of The Pride’s 35 matches this season, sitting just one game with an injury to her ribs.
Taylor played in 23 matches this season for The Pride, recording 42 kills, five assists, five serving aces, 13 digs, and seven blocks. She recorded a season high eight kills in the first round of the conference tournament against Mary Baldwin, in addition to tallying six kills against the Squirrels earlier this the season. Her season best three digs also came against Mary Baldwin.
Heather is also an excellent student and was named to last year’s USA South All-Academic team and the GC Honor Roll with a GPA greater than 3.0.
Lojko had nothing but good things to say about Heather and her work ethic. “Heather always maintains a great attitude when she comes on the court and is ready to play all the time. She loves to play and doesn’t let anything bother her.”