DES MOINES - She was the orchestrator of an amazing Springville offense, one that thrilled Oriole fans all season long and advanced all the way to the state volleyball tournament for a second season in a row.
Springville setter Nia Howard raised her game to an entirely new level in 2020, and for her efforts was named a class 1A third-team All-State pick by the Iowa Girls Coaches Association.
The good news for Oriole volleyball fans?
Howard’s only a sophomore.
Howard turned in mind-boggling numbers leading Springville to a 27-5 overall record and top-10 state ranking by setting a school-record 742 assists. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Howard added 216 digs, 85 kills, served at a 92-percent clip with 33 aces while also helping the defense with 10 blocked shots.
Howard was also the lone Tri-Rivers Conference player to earn class 1A All-State honors. Maquoketa Valley senior Emerson Whittenbaugh was named to the class 2A third-team.
Joining Howard as class 1A third-team All-State selections were: Claire Pothitakis, sr. (Holy Trinity), Rachel Drake, sr. (East Mills), Sydney Matthias, so. (Wapsie Valley Fairbank), Lauren Williams, jr. (Council Bluffs-St. Albert), Jenna Brown, sr. (Don Bosco) and Nichola Phillippe, sr. (Belle Plaine).
Earning first-team class 1A All-State honors were: Lydia Imbrogno, jr. (Wapsie Valley Fairbank), Saari Kuehl, sr. (Gladbrook-Reinbeck), Allie Petry, sr. (Council Bluffs-St. Albert), Gabby Gergen, sr. (Janesville), Rachel Lengel, sr. (LeMars Gehlen Catholic), Gabby Deery, so. (Burlington-Notre Dame) and Katie Stephens, jr. (Burlington-Notre Dame).
Earning second-team All-State honors were: Pyper McCarville, jr. (Janesville), Ella Larson, sr. (Newell-Fonda), Emma McClintock, so. (Gladbrook-Reinbeck), Tara Peterson, sr. (Stanton), Jaylen Bork, sr. (MMCRU), Kassi Randolph, jr. (Holy Trinity) and Kalvyn Rosengarten, so. (Wapsie Valley Fairbank).
Claiming class 1A All-State honorable mention status were: Megan Cooley, so. (Gladbrook-Reinbeck), Lauren Heying, jr. (LeMars-Gehlen Catholic), Brooke Trees, sr. (North Butler), Naomi Hovenga, sr. (Janesville), Lizzie Garber, sr. (BCLUW), Macy Sievers, jr. (Newell-Fonda), Mallory Mueller, so. (Tripoli), Morgan Graber, sr. (WACO), Mandy Chizek, so. (Belle Plaine), Emily Williams, so. (East Mills), Abbi Bailey, sr. (Kingsley-Pierson), Josie Hartman, jr. (Southeast Warren) and Keaura Williams, so. (New London).
Council Bluffs-St. Albert’s Allie Petry was named class 1A Player of the Year while Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Paula Kelley claimed 1A Coach of the Year honors.