COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — University of Colorado junior outside hitter Taylor Simpson has been invited to participate in the U.S. Women’s National Training Team winter block in Anaheim, Calif.
“Receiving a phone call from your national team coach is a dream that many young players keep in their heads as they work tirelessly to better themselves,” Colorado head coach Liz Kritza said. “After a strong showing in last week’s open tryout, Taylor earned that call and proudly accepted an invitation to join the U.S. Women’s National Team for their winter training block. Hard work and perseverance are what Taylor can point to as she takes a big step in her development as an athlete and a competitor.”
The winter training block started on Jan. 27 and goes until the third week of March. The team trains Monday-Friday each week and will have USA Red-Blue matches at the end of the week. The next two are scheduled for March 7 and 14. Simpson will miss some classes in order to participate in this training, but the proper arrangements have been made so that she won’t be behind when she returns to school in March.
“Credit to Taylor and our academic coordinator, Mindy Sclaro, for sorting out her academic requirements in order to facilitate being in Anaheim for two weeks to train with the national team,” Kritza said. “It is not an easy feat, and only a handful of athletes who are still in school have received the invite; most players that were called to join have already completed their academic requirements.”
Simpson has previously trained with other USA Volleyball teams. She was named to the U.S. Women’s Senior A2 Team and the USA Beach Volleyball A2 Team in 2013 and was involved with USA Volleyball in high school. She earned a spot on the 2010 U.S. Youth Olympic Team that finished second in Singapore at the Inaugural Youth Olympics. Simpson led the team at the tournament and recorded 11 kills, six blocks and an ace in the final match of the tournament. She was also a member of the USA Youth National Training Team.
The Colorado Springs, Colo., native had a spectacular season for the Buffs in 2013. She earned honorable mention recognition to the AVCA Division I All-Pacific South Region and All-Pac-12 teams, and was named CU’s Most Valuable Offensive Player. Simpson recorded 390 kills last season to lead the Buffs, averaging 3.61 kills per set. She ranked eighth in the Pac-12 Conference in kills and was also ninth in the league with 4.03 points per set. Simpson was second on the team with 2.67 digs per set (288 digs) and was third with 0.63 blocks per set (68 blocks).
Simpson tallied 14 double-doubles last year. One of those was with 20 kills and 22 digs, a career-best, in a five-set victory over Utah on Nov. 27. In doing so, Simpson became just the 12th Buff ever to record a 20-20 double-double. She led the Buffs in kills 17 times, including on Oct. 6 against Washington State when she hammered a career-high 23 kills.
“She makes us proud to call her a Buff and as any player who has had the honor can tell you, there is something really special about putting on a jersey to represent your country. We wish her all the best and know she will continue to make us proud,” Kritza said.
Several other current Buffs have been involved recently with USAV. Sophomore setter Nicole Edelman was the co-captain of the 2013 USA Junior National Team that competed at the world championships in the Czech Republic last summer. Alexis Austin was a member of the 2011 USA Girls’ Youth National Team and the 2010 USA Girls’ Youth National A2 team. A couple others, freshman Cierra Simpson and senior Elysse Richardson, have participated in the tryout process the last two years.