Springville’s Grace Matus gets set to serve the volleyball in a Tri-Rivers Conference match at Maquoketa Valley late last month. The Orioles sealed another league West division championship with an impressive straight-sets (25-23, 25-22, 25-22) sweep at Starmont Tuesday, Oct. 5, then finished off the perfect conference campaign rolling to a 25-12, 25-12, 25-20 victory at Alburnett Thursday, Oct. 7. Springville wraps West division action this fall with a perfect 7-0 record.


It was a winner-take-all match-up in Starmont Tuesday, Oct. 5, and the Springville volleyball team wasn’t about to allow the opportunity of claiming yet another Tri-Rivers Conference West division championship get away from them.

“Starmont is a great team with an unbelievable knack for backcourt defense,” said Oriole volleyball coach Claude Howard, as his team took care of business and won their fifth league title since 2013.

“There were some of the longest rallies our team had seen this season, but I am glad our kids pushed through and got the win.”

Not only did the Orioles (25-3, 7-0), ranked third in class 1A, get the win, but they did it in straight sets taking a hard-fought 25-23, 25-22, 25-22 battle over the talented Stars who also came into the contest with an undefeated conference record.

“I was especially proud of our fight,” Howard said. “Meeting the challenge of being down a few times and climbing back to win in three sets. Our kids defended well and get to add another Tri-Rivers West division conference title.”

The Springville offense had a pretty productive night of their own slamming down 46 kills as a team led by 11 from Lauren Wilson on 30 attacks while Kennady Breitfelder added 10 more, also on 30 attacks. Molly Stamp and Lily Clark chipped in with seven kills each while Savannah Nealman added six more.

Nia Howard was all over the court not only setting a whopping 39 assists, but she added five kills of her own to the offense and tallied 17 digs defensively.

Grace Matus led that Oriole defense coming through with a team-high 34 digs in the match while Springville serving was also solid delivering 96-percent over the net with two going for aces, both coming from Nealman.

“Every point was a battle with close scores each set, but we were able to finish without dropping a set,” said Howard, as his team claimed a West division title for the first since 2017 when Springville competed one of the greatest seasons in school history with a 39-3 overall record.

“Our kids earned the title tonight, and hopefully have done enough to prove their place in class 1A. This team fights and has a different mindset than in the past, competing at a high level every time they hit the court.”

Having wrapped up the West division title in the Tri-Rivers Conference, the Orioles went about looking to complete their regular season with a perfect league record Thursday, Oct. 7, in Alburnett.

The Pirates didn’t stand a chance.

“We finished the season undefeated in the Tri-Rivers Conference West division,” said Howard, as his team rolled to an impressive 25-12, 25-12, 25-20 victory that closed their regular season with a perfect 7-0 divisional record.

“I am proud of our team. They have met the growth challenge and are finally reaching their potential as a group. We are excited to start our preparation for post-season play.”

Springville’s balanced offensive attack was just too tough for the Pirates to slow down as the Orioles had hitters flying all over the court led by Nealman, who hammered down a team-high nine kills in the match on 19 attacks while Wilson added six more. Clark added five kills for the visitors with Howard and Breitfelder chipping in with four more each.

Howard set 25 assists while Stamp led the defense coming through with three blocked shots. Wilson swatted back two more for the visitors while Nealman and Clark made it a tough net to crack for the Alburnett offense coming through with one block each.

Breitfelder had a big night at the service line as well coming through with a team-best six aces, going a perfect 25-of-25 at the line while Nealman added four more aces going 9-of-12. As a team the Orioles connected at a 91-percent clip in the match.

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