In case you didn’t already know it, there’s a very good reason why the Springville volleyball team is ranked second in the state and are picked by many as a legitimate state title contender in class 1A.
The Orioles, who have made numerous state tournament appearances over the last few seasons, are loaded with experience from a deep and talented senior class that also is balanced out with a group of juniors that mesh perfectly into one very talented and cohesive unit.
Springville showed that depth and talent once again Saturday, Sept. 4, as one of the top teams competing at the Midland tournament in Wyoming.
“Our team had another good tournament and we continue to build offensively,” said Oriole volleyball coach Claude Howard, who has built a juggernaut in Springville, and his team impressed yet again going 4-1 against a tough field dropping just a three-set thriller against Monticello.
“As a team we are starting the season with the best overall hitting efficiency we have had in a few years. We only had a small hiccup against a Monticello team that is finding stride and has a couple of strong middle hitters. Monticello used their height and a great match from Jayden Kuper to seal it. The loss was an opportunity to grow and strengthen our mindset, and we finished strong against our last two opponents.”
Springville (8-2) opened the tournament crushing Calamus-Wheatland taking a 21-15, 21-6 final as Savannah Nealman was flying all over the court slamming down five kills while teammate Kennady Breitfelder added four more. Lauren Wilson and Molly Stamp chipped in with three kills each while Nia Howard was the pulse of the offense setting 16 assists. Defensively, Howard and Stamp blocked two shots each while Grace Matus came through with seven digs. Breitfelder added six more.
Oriole serving was also outstanding in the opener as the team connected at a 95-percent clip with Howard ripping two of the team’s five total aces while Morgan Nachazel was 10-of-10 at the line.
The routs continued in the second match of the day, a 21-10, 21-6 triumph over Bellevue-Marquette.
Stamp slammed down five kills to lead the offense and added two blocks defensively while Wilson came through with four kills. Howard set 11 assists with Matus leading the defense with six digs.
Springville dominated at the service line as well tallying 10 aces, six coming from Nealman who was a perfect 11-of-11 while Breitfelder added another ace going 13-of-13.
The Orioles were handed their lone loss against Monticello coming up just short in a 17-21, 21-13, 10-15 thriller.
Howard did it all for the Springville team not only setting 21 assists in the three-setter, but also tallied 10 kills. Breitfelder was also busy at the offensive net coming through with eight kills while Lily Clark added five more.
The Orioles made the Panther offense work for everything they got as five different girls tallied blocks led by two from Breitfelder while Matus was clutch in the back row coming up with 16 digs.
Springville rallied back immediately in their next match, a 21-3, 21-11 rout over Clarksville.
Six different Oriole girls helped the offense dominate as Nealman and Wilson led the way with five kills while Clark added four more. Stamp chipped in with three kills while Howard and Breitfelder tallied two more each.
Howard set 18 assists while Springville serving was once again outstanding as Wilson’s five aces paced a nine-ace team effort as the Orioles connected at a 98-percent clip from the line.
The final match of the tournament saw Springville control a talented North Cedar team, taking a 21-10, 21-13 final.
Breitfelder led the Orioles slamming down seven kills with Wilson adding five more. Howard set 15 assists and tallied four kills while Matus’ work in the back row allowed her to collect eight digs.
Springville was a perfect 39-of-39 serving with Matus tallying four of the team’s nine total aces going 16-of-16 individually. Nachazel and Howard chipped in with two aces each in the tournament closing rout.
“At 8-2 we feel good about where we are as a team and look forward to growing our identity,” Howard said. “We head into a tough week before Tri-Rivers Conference West play facing North Cedar on Tuesday (Sept. 7) and No. 6 Lisbon on Thursday (Sept. 9).”