TROY MILLS - Coming off their first loss since the 2020 season-opener against Anamosa at the Cascade tournament way back on Aug. 29, the class 1A fourth-ranked Springville volleyball team was ready to start a new streak Thursday, Oct. 1, at North Linn.
“We rebounded from a rough Tuesday (Sept. 29) match (against Maquoketa Valley) and found our offensive flow against class 2A North Linn,” said Oriole volleyball coach Claude Howard, as his team posted an impressive 25-13, 25-19, 25-21 triumph over the Lynx.
“I was pretty happy about the team being able to pick themselves up after an uncharacteristic night Tuesday and tough loss. Against North Linn they came out with a focused aggression when attacking and used the game planning to get North Linn out of system most of the night. We had a solid serving night as well, so all facets of the game were improved.”
Springville (18-2, 4-1) used a sensational performance from Lauren Wilson to power past the hosts as Wilson hammered down an impressive 14 kills on just 23 attacks as the team tallied 41 in the match overall.
Morgan Nachazel, back from a nasty ankle injury, returned with a vengeance coming through with nine kills for the Oriole offense while Lily Clark added six more. Nia Howard, Savannah Nealman and Molly Stamp all chipped in with four kills each while Howard also set a season-high 35 assists.
Ashlynne Zaruba anchored the Springville back row for the injured Grace Matus, and as the team’s libero came up with 17 digs while Penny Blackmore added eight more with Nealman, Howard and Nachazel all coming through with seven.
Oriole serving was also key as the team connected at a 93-percent clip with Stamp going a perfect 19-of-19 with two of the team’s four total aces.
Coming into their match against a talented Maquoketa Valley team Tuesday, Sept. 29, Springville had reeled off 17-straight match wins including a set streak of 38 in a row before the Wildcats ended all of that with a stunning 25-23, 25-19, 25-18 win over the Orioles.
“We struggled at keeping the ball in the court against the Wildcats on a night where it seemed the lines were just out of reach,” Howard said. “We tallied 33 kills, but 22 attack errors made the difference.
“After being ahead in the first two sets, the team struggled adjusting at the pins in a match against a quick and tall blocking team. After losing our libero again to an injury, we just couldn’t make the right plays at the end of the sets.”
Stamp led the 33-kill Springville offense coming through with six in the match while Clark and Wilson added five more each for the hosts, who celebrated Howard’s 200th career coaching victory with a short ceremony before the match.
Howard set 29 assists while Matus, before she left with an injury, found her way to a team-best 17 digs.
Oriole serving was once again solid as the team connected at a 97-percent clip with Nealman going 13-for-13 with an ace while Matus drilled two aces at the Wildcats.
“This was a good test for the team and a reminder of how quickly the game can get away from you,” Howard said. “I reminded the team after the game that all of our goals are still ahead of us, and the conference divisional title is still there to take.
“We will be stronger for this experience, and at 17-2 I want the girls to be proud of their accomplishments so far and keep their eyes on our season goals.”