It was only a matter of time before former Menomonee Falls volleyball state player of the year and high school All-American Simone Lee figured it out on the collegiate level.
The junior broadcast journalism major and 6-1 outside hitter was recently named both Big 10 Player of the Week and ESPNW National Player of the Week for a spectacular 30-kill effort in a stunning five-set victory over then No. 1-ranked Minnesota.
It was the first 30-kill effort by a Nittany Lion player in the modern 25-point rally scoring era and the first in nine years at the school. Also that week, Lee had 11 kills in a win over Rutgers.
With the effort,the junior broadcast journalism major Lee continues her progression up the ladder of success at PSU, which had won numerous NCAA DI national titles in its history.
She graduated from Falls in 2014 after leading the Indians to their first WIAA state title in the fall of 2013. That year, she earned her third straight all-state honor and was named Wisconsin's Gatorade Player of the Year after pacing the Indians to a 46-4 overall record. She had a total of 61 kills in the three-match effort at state, including 21 in the title-clinching win over Westosha Central. She was also named an Under Armour First team All-American.
She also played on numerous national and international teams, including helping the American team take second in the FIVB U18 World Championships in 2013.
Powerful and athletic, Lee has made a steady progression at PSU, coming off the bench in 26 matches in 2014 and playing in 31 matches and starting 18 in 2015. She finally became a regular starter this fall for the team that's ranked ninth in the country (Wisconsin was ranked first in a recent poll). She has paced the Nittany Lions to a 7-0 record in Big 10 play and an overall match record of 15-3 after another impressive win over 19th-ranked Ohio State on Oct. 20.
She leads the Big 10 with 4.2 kills per set and is humbled and grateful for her current status with the team.
"I want to be a teammate they can rely on at crunch time," she said in one release.
Veteran PSU coach Russ Rose thinks Lee's value is quite a bit higher than that of just a mere teammate, calling Lee the best player on the team through the first 15 matches.