While Mr. Montgomery Burns (Monty to his few friends) might not remember the last name of his most famous employee, Colorado volleyball coach Liz Kritza can’t forget it.
On Wednesday, the third of three national signing days for student-athletes to sign national letters of intent, Doherty’s Gabby Simpson signed with CU, joining sisters Taylor and Cierra as Buffaloes.
Getting Gabby to sign with the Buffs was a minor coup for Kritza. Until Jan. 6, Gabby had been verbally committed to in-state rival Colorado State.
“Gabby will have a truly unique experience in donning a Buffs’ jersey alongside her older sisters, Cierra and Taylor, both part of a talented and motivated group we currently have in our program here at CU,” Kritza told CUBuffs.com.
“The main reason why I switched was because I felt that I fit in better at CU than CSU,” Gabby told The Gazette after a signing ceremony at Doherty on Wednesday.
Of course, the chance to play alongside her sisters was a big drawing point, too.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to do that,” she said. “We only got to play together one time and it was for a few points my freshman year. I wasn’t very good then. I feel like the next few years are going to be awesome.”
This season, Gabby proved she could do more than just set. Listed at 6-foot-3, she was second on the team in kills with 277, solo blocks with 27 and total blocks (72). She led the Spartans with 711 assists. She, along with Cierra, helped the Spartans win the 2012 Class 5A state championship.
“I think hitting this year for high school did really help me out a lot,” Gabby said. “When I get the chance to (hit) I do. I don’t get to hit for club, so high school is the only chance I get to hit.”
With the Simpson clan on hand to watch the third sister sign, Cierra, a freshman at CU, was ecstatic to officially welcome Gabby to another family.
“It was the best news I’d heard all year,” said Cierra, who was originally verbally committed to Texas-San Antonio before switching to CU. “I was so excited, and I know Taylor was so excited, and everyone up at CU is just so excited to have her up here.
“I think (Kritza) is really excited because she has seen how well we are able to work together. I think it’s rare to find three sisters who can work so well together. Usually people worry, oh, are they going to fight? We’re really close, so we have good chemistry together. I’m just really looking forward to see how it’s going to go on the court.”
Gabby got more support from one of her biggest fans, Doherty teammate Haleigh Washington — Gabby’s main target to set to.
“It’s so cool. This is such a great place for Gabby to be going,” said Washington, who signed to play with Penn State in the fall. “She’s excited for it, and I’m excited to see her go there and grow as a person and athlete. She’s incredible.”