Cruising though the conference campaign in perfect order, as well as being the highest state-ranked Tri-Rivers program during the entire 2021 campaign, it’s safe to say the Orioles were the best team in the loaded league this past season.
What is one of the main attributes every top team possesses?
And the Springville volleyball program is bursting with it, as the team had an incredible seven players named to All-Tri-Rivers Conference West division teams as named by league coaches recently, including a whopping four being named as first-teamers.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Orioles also claimed the league’s MVP and Coach of the Year honors as well, with both awards staying in the same family.
Springville junior Nia Howard, one of the greatest setters not only in Oriole volleyball history, but in the entire history of the Tri-Rivers Conference, was named West division Most Valuable Player while her dad Claude Howard took home division Coach of the Year honors as well.
Howard guided the Springville to another West division title rolling to a perfect 7-0 league mark overall. Their point-differential of 8.7 was far and away the best in the league as the Orioles dominated their league opponents almost every single night.
Howard, as well as classmate Kennady Breitfelder and seniors Lauren Wilson and Grace Matus were all named first-team All-Tri-Rivers Conference selections while senior Savannah Nealman and junior Lily Clark were second-team picks for the Orioles.
Junior Molly Stamp was named an honorable mention selection.
Howard, against conference competition, set 215 assists. For the season the Oriole standout dished out 815 and she’s not done yet as Springville enters the class 1A state tournament this week.
Not only was Howard, one of four just unanimous picks to the first-team, the pulse of the offense with all her amazing passing skills, but she also helped out at the offensive net with 27 kills. Defensively she also played a role with seven blocks against league foes and 85 digs.
Wilson, one of a strong line of outstanding Oriole hitters, led the team with 64 kills in league play while Breitfelder added 52 more on just 115 attacks. Matus was a stalwart defensively coming through with a team-best 124 digs while also serving the volleyball at a 96-percent clip with 12 aces in league play.
Nealman was another hammer Howard could count on coming through with 41 kills and was team team’s top server with 20 aces drilling volleyballs over the net at a 95-percent clip.
Clark was another who could do it all from both sides of the net for the Springville team, not only drilling 46 kills on a mere 91 attacks for a team-best .418 hitting efficiency, but her defense was among the best in the conference swatting back 19 shots at opposing hitters and altering hundreds and hundreds of others.
Stamp, yet another option in the Oriole offensive and defensive schemes, tallied 39 kills and 10 blocks during the league season.
Earning first-team All-Tri-Rivers Conference West division honors with Howard, Wilkson, Matus and Breitbach were: Kelsey Hansel, sr. (Edgewood-Colesburg), Macy Heimes, sr. (Starmont), Sara Reid, sr. (Central City), Chloe VanEtten, sr. (North Linn) and Mallory Vaske, sr. (Starmont).
Howard and Breitfelder were the lone underclassmen named to the first-team while Clark was one of just two juniors named to the second-team.
Earning second-team honors with Nealman and Clark were: Annie Hoffman, sr. (Edgewood-Colesburg), Sydney Baumgartner, sr. (Starmont), Mackenzie Curtis, sr. (Starmont), Lauren Donlea, sr. (East Buchanan), Jill Smith, sr. (North Linn), Evalyn Robinson, jr. (North Linn), Bailee Weber, so. (Central City) and Hailey Carolan, sr. (Alburnett).
Earning honorable mention status with Stamp were: Katelyn Mead, sr. (Alburnett), Isabelle Whitson, so. (Central City), Averiel Brady, jr. (East Buchanan), Ella Aulwes, sr. (Edgewood-Colesburg), Kylie Chesnut, sr. (Maquoketa Valley), Caitlin Benesh, jr. (North Linn) and Emily Schuhmacher, sr. (Starmont).