116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
WATERLOO — Springville High School volleyball seasons typically don’t finish in October.
And this year is no exception.
The Class 1A No. 3 Orioles looked sharp in sweeping Saint Ansgar, 25-20, 25-14, 25-12, in a regional final Wednesday night at Siddens Gymnasium.
A battled-tested Springville squad is headed to the state tournament for the seventh time in nine years.
“We knew (Saint Ansgar) had been playing really well, but we felt like we had a good game plan to slow them down,” Orioles coach Claude Howard said. “They were getting some good swings from their outside hitters, and we made some adjustments with trying to block them and take some of that away. Our girls really executed well.”
Springville improved to 33-4 overall while Saint Ansgar had its 13-match winning streak halted in finishing 19-10.
The red-hot Saints battled Springville tough early, but the Orioles stayed strong before a Lily Clark block finished the opening set.
Springville led just 12-10 in set 2 before embarking on a 10-2 run to take control. Senior Lauren Wilson was a force at the net, delivering a handful of kills to spark the Orioles.
Set 3 was all Springville. The Orioles bolted to an 11-2 advantage before closing the straight-set victory over a scrappy Saints team.
Springville had a balanced hitting attack with Wilson, Molly Stamp and Kennady Breitfelder contributing eight kills apiece.
Versatile Oriole junior Nia Howard showed off her skills with an array of pinpoint sets and effective serves.
“We just kept our nerves down,” Nia Howard said. “We knew if we just played our game that we could do it. We’re a very dynamic team. We were hitting on all cylinders with everyone stepping up and contributing. It was a fun night.”
Howard’s father and coach fought back tears when describing what Nia has meant to the team.
“I’m obviously very proud of her,” Coach Howard said. “She’s worked extremely hard and become a great leader for us. She’s one of our captains. She loves this game and puts her heart into it — and the other girls follow her lead.”
The Howards and the loaded Springville squad now head back to Cedar Rapids for its biggest matches of the season.
“We feel good about where we are right now,” Coach Howard said. “We’ve struggled at state in the past, but I think this team has figured it out. We’re looking forward to the challenge and we will be ready to go.”