For the Simpson sisters of CU volleyball, the more the merrier
Taylor Simpson’s hometown of Colorado Springs is less than 100 miles from Boulder, but it took her more than two years to get here because she played volleyball for the Universities of Nebraska and Missouri first.
The lure of being close to family and friends drew Taylor back to Colorado in January of 2013 and in less than two years her younger sisters – first Cierra (a.k.a. Cece) and then Gabby – enrolled at CU-Boulder, too.
Together the trio made NCAA history last fall as the first-ever group of three sisters to play Division I volleyball for the same team.
Like younger siblings tend to do, Cierra and Gabby Simpson learned from Taylor’s experience and decided that CU was the right place to be. The point hit home for Gabby when she saw her older sisters play at the Coors Events Center.
“I realized they were having so much fun on the court and I wanted to be a part of it,” Gabby says.
Taylor is an outside hitter, CeCe is a libero/defensive specialist and Gabby is a setter, allowing coach Liz Kritza to put them all on the court at the same time.
Together they helped the Buffs to a 20-14 record and the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Individually, they found success as well. Taylor smashed the single-season school record for kills with 591 (the previous mark of 528 stood for 17 years), was named the College Female Athlete of the Year by the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and became the first Buff to earn AVCA Division I First Team All-American honors as a senior. CeCe, a sophomore, set the school single-season mark for digs with 519 (surpassing 490, set in 1990) and Gabby was named to the All-Pac-12 Freshman honorable mention team.
Countless hours playing, practicing and training, mean the Simpson sisters spend a lot of time together. How much?
“98 percent of the time,” CeCe jokes. “The other two percent is spent sleeping.”
“But we never get sick of each other,” says Taylor, 21.
That’s a good thing because Taylor and CeCe, 19, share an apartment, where you can often find Gabby, too, even though, as a freshman, she lives in a dormitory. After Taylor graduates in May, Gabby, 18, plans to move in. And for once, Gabby and CeCe will be housemates without sharing a room or sleeping in bunk beds, as they did as children.
Taylor, the eldest, has always had her own room, and the younger two sisters playfully call her out as the “Prized Child” as she describes getting that bunk bed in her room – all to herself.
Meanwhile, Taylor tabs Gabby as the funny one, and she in turn says CeCe is the clever sister. What is obvious to everyone who meets all three, CeCe says, is that “none of us are introverts.”
And, the most-outgoing Simpson isn’t even on campus – yet. Twelve-year-old Riley has already set her sights on CU, according to her big sisters.
Safe to say Kritza has an in with Riley.
“Taylor coming home and deciding to join our family here at CU was a crucial turning point in her life … I don’t think that any of us thought that it would definitely lead to CeCe and Gabby eventually joining us as well, but I am sure that it helped since they are so close,” Kritza says.
The trio only played one season together as Buffs, but they’ve left their mark on the NCAA record book and the CU program, and made a lifetime of memories.