Missouri volleyball outside hitter Simpson says she's here to stay

Saturday, September 15, 2012 | 7:54 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Taylor Simpson moved around a lot as a freshman.

Simpson, now a sophomore and a 6-foot-3 outside hitter for the Missouri volleyball team, started her college career at Nebraska in 2011. But after a season with the Cornhuskers, she transferred to Florida State.

“I left because it just wasn’t a very good fit for me,” Simpson said about Nebraska.

Florida State agreed with her even less, and she stayed for only about two weeks before leaving to come to Columbia to play.

Simpson, a Colorado Springs, Colo., native who had been ranked as the No. 9 recruit nationally out of high school, had considered playing for the Tigers, but her parents talked her into choosing Nebraska.

Now, Simpson says she is enjoying her new team and city. She likes the family atmosphere of the Missouri team and says the coaching is relaxed and more teaching is involved. She said the coaching at Nebraska was a lot more uptight.

Simpson is also getting to know her teammates and spends a lot of time with them in the duplex that many of the players share. She said her roommate Sarah Meister, a defensive specialist, is her closest friend on the team.

“She’s hilarious and a lot like me,” Meister said of Simpson. “She’s super artsy; her room is amazing. I want her to decorate my room actually.”

In her few months living in Columbia, Simpson has found two favorite restaurants .

“I really like that place Andy’s (Frozen Custard) for their ice cream,” she said. “And Dixie Cream Donuts. I had a peanut butter doughnut from there, and it was so good.”

The Tigers might have the Missouri School of Journalism to thank for influencing her school choice..

“Mizzou has the major of journalism that I want to go into, and it’s like the greatest school around for it,” Simpson said.

Simpson wants to major in broadcast journalism and go into sportscasting as a career. She said having a career like Erin Andrews, a sportscaster for Fox Sports, would be her dream job.

Regan Peltier, an outside hitter for Missouri, is confident in Simpson’s abilities.

“She adds a whole other level to our play,” Peltier said. “I can see what she does and use that to make myself better. Playing against her (in practice) brings my level totally higher.”

Simpson said this year would be used as a building period for the Missouri volleyball team to get accustomed to new players and their roles. She also said that this year’s team could “do some real damage in the SEC.”

Simpson had 10 kills and three solo blocks in Missouri's come-from behind victory against Tennessee in the Tigers' SEC opener Wednesday at the Hearnes Center. The Vols had been ranked to win the conference, so Simpson may be correct.

As Meister said, Simpson has proved that she is the “stud athlete” she was billed to be.

But how long can Missouri fans expect to see her play in the black and gold uniform? Does Simpson plan on playing for the Tigers for a long time?

“Of course,” she said. “I’m definitely not transferring anymore. It’s the most stressful process in the world.”

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