116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — His team had blown a big lead with an opportunity to sweep the match.
Claude Howard wasn’t fearful, just frustrated.
“It wasn’t necessarily an uh-oh moment. More, I was disappointed that we had gone into some soft play,” said Howard, volleyball coach at Springville High School.
It didn’t last.
The third-ranked Orioles followed with their best play of the night and finished off No. 11 Gladbrook-Reinbeck, 25-23, 25-23, 24-26, 25-16, in a Class 1A quarterfinal at the state tournament Tuesday night.
Molly Stamp had five of her team-high 11 kills in the fourth set to lead a balanced attack, and the Orioles (34-4) advanced to Wednesday’s semifinal round.
» Photo gallery: Springville vs. Gladbrook-Reinbeck in state volleyball tournament
They’ll face No. 12 North Tama (31-10) at 6 p.m. The Redhawks upended No. 2 Le Mars Gehlen on Tuesday.
“This night, we didn’t play at our top level,” said junior Nia Howard, Claude’s daughter and the Orioles’ setter. “Tomorrow, hopefully the best comes out of all of us.”
Springville was certainly the more consistent, efficient team in this one. Gladbrook-Reinbeck (29-14) had more kills (52 to 51), but the Rebels also sprayed 29 attack errors, compared to 17 for the Orioles.
In addition to Stamp’s 11 kills, Springville got 10 apiece from Savannah Nealman and Lily Clark, and nine from Lauren Wilson.
“When we’re balanced like that, the other team doesn’t know who to stop,” said Stamp, who made only one error in 17 swings and posted a lofty .588 kill efficiency. Clark was at .571.
Nia Howard accumulated 41 assists, and Grace Matus collected 17 digs.
Springville rallied from a 6-0 deficit in the first game and 5-0 in the second. The Orioles were poised to polish it off in three, but let the foot off the gas with a 17-10 lead.
Last year’s 1A runners-up, the Rebels scored seven straight to tie the set, then scored the final two points of the set on Springville attack errors.
The Orioles responded by leading Game 4 from first serve until last. Stamp had two kills, Wilson and Nia Howard one apiece in a five-point run that busted it open for good at 13-5.
Springville is in the state field for the seventh time in the past nine seasons. The Orioles have not yet played in a championship match, and a big opportunity awaits Wednesday.
“If we play our game, we’ve got this,” Wilson said.
Ava Wyatt led Gladbrook-Reinbeck with 20 kills, but made 16 attack errors.
“We were able to make them pretty one-dimensional,” Coach Howard said. “Their middles didn’t have a night at all.”